What famous people (and some not
"Since, in the long run, every planetary civilization will be endangered
by impacts from space, every surviving civilization is obliged to become
spacefaring--not because of exploratory or romantic zeal, but for the most
practical reason imaginable: staying alive... If our long-term survival is
at stake, we have a basic responsibility to our species to venture to other
"I don't think the human race will survive the next thousand years,
unless we spread into space. There are too many accidents that can befall
life on a single planet. But I'm an optimist. We will reach out to the
"Let me end with an explanation of why I believe the move into space to
be a human imperative. It seems to me obvious in too many ways to need
listing that we cannot much longer depend upon our planet's relatively
fragile ecosystem to handle the realities of the human tomorrow. Unless we
turn human growth and energy toward the challenges and promises of space,
our only other choice may be the awful risk, currently demonstrable, of
stumbling into a cycle of fratricide and regression which could end all
chances of our evolving further or of even surviving."
"The Earth is just too small and fragile a basket for the human race to
keep all its eggs in."
"Today the human race is a single twig on the tree of life, a single
species on a single planet. Our condition can thus only be described as
extremely fragile, endangered by forces of nature currently beyond our
control, our own mistakes, and other branches of the wildly blossoming tree
itself. Looked at this way, we can then pose the question of the future of
humanity on Earth, in the solar system, and in the galaxy from the
standpoint of both evolutionary biology and human nature. The conclusion is
straightforward: Our choice is to grow, branch, spread and develop, or
stagnate and die."
"The question to ask is whether the risk of traveling to space is worth
the benefit. The answer is an unequivocal yes, but not only for the reasons
that are usually touted by the space community: the need to explore, the
scientific return, and the possibility of commercial profit. The most
compelling reason, a very long-term one, is the necessity of using space to
protect Earth and guarantee the survival of humanity."
"In time, [a Martian] colony would grow to the point of being self-
sustaining. When this stage was reached, humanity would have a precious
insurance policy against catastrophe at home. During the next millennium
there is a significant chance that civilization on Earth will be destroyed
by an asteroid, a killer plague or a global war. A Martian colony could keep
the flame of civilization and culture alive until Earth could be reverse-
colonized from Mars."
"We must turn our guns away from each other and outwards, to defend the Earth, creating a global and in space network of sensors and telescopes to find asteroids that could destroy our planet and create the systems to stop them. It makes no sense to dream great dreams while waiting to be hit by a train." Buzz Aldrin and Rick Tumlinson, Ad Astra Online, 2006
"There are so many benefits to be derived from space exploration and
exploitation; why not take what seems to me the only chance of escaping what
is otherwise the sure destruction of all that humanity has struggled to
achieve for 50,000 years?"
"Knowing what we know now, we are being irresponsible in our failure to
make the scientific and technical progress we will need for protecting our
newly discovered severely threatened and probably endangered species--us.
NASA is not about the 'Adventure of Human Space Exploration,' we are in the
deadly serious business of saving the species. All Human Exploration's
bottom line is about preserving our species over the long haul."
"Space travel leading to skylife is vital to human survival, because the
question is not whether we will be hit by an asteroid, but when. A planetary
culture that does not develop spacefaring is courting suicide. All our history,
all our social progress and growing insight will be for nothing if we perish.
No risk of this kind, however small it might be argued to be, is worth taking,
and no cost to prevent it is too great. No level of risk is acceptable when
it comes to all or nothing survival."
"The dinosaurs became extinct because they didn't have a space program.
And if we become extinct because we don't have a space program, it'll serve
"Colonization means potential immortality for the human genus. Man's
safety on Earth was never great, and it dwindles hourly. Disarmament, even
world government, will not guarantee survival in an age when population
presses natural resources to the limit and when the knowledge of how to work
mischief on a planetary scale is ever more widely diffused among peoples who
may grow ever more desperate."
"I would not see our candle blown out in the wind. It is a small thing,
this dear gift of life handed us mysteriously out of immensity. I would not
have that gift expire... If I seem to be beating a dead horse again and
again, I must protest: No! I am beating, again and again, living man to keep
him awake and move his limbs and jump his mind... What's the use of looking
at Mars through a telescope, sitting on panels, writing books, if it isn't
to guarantee, not just the survival of mankind, but mankind surviving
"If the human species, or indeed any part of the biosphere, is to
continue to survive, it must eventually leave the Earth and colonize space.
For the simple fact of the matter is, the planet Earth is doomed... Let us
follow many environmentalists and regard the Earth as Gaia, the
mother of all life (which indeed she is). Gaia, like all mothers, is not
immortal. She is going to die. But her line of descent might be
immortal... Gaia's children might never die out--provided they move into
space. The Earth should be regarded as the womb of life--but one cannot
remain in the womb forever."
"If humanity persists and endures, in time we will come face to face with
the evolution of our sun. In a few billion years its slow brightening will
speed up as it swells into a red giant. Earth will then be uninhabitable, as
will the inner regions of the Solar System. Yet there will be other more
clement stars to which our descendents may wish to migrate. Certainly a
society that has developed space flight and space colonization will have the
advantage of never thereafter having to stand hostage to fortune."
"Remember this: once the human race is established on more than one
planet and especially, in more than one solar system, there is no way
now imaginable to kill off the human race."
"Many of the problems that we have today may not have solutions on Earth.
The solutions may lie only in leaving the planet behind. There's no way we
can avoid tearing up the countryside for ores, for fuel, for raw materials
here on Earth--short of everybody dying off."
"Clearly our first task is to use the material wealth of space to solve
the urgent problems we now face on Earth: to bring the poverty-stricken
segments of the world up to a decent living standard, without recourse to
war or punitive action against those already in material comfort; to provide
for a maturing civilization the basic energy vital to its survival."
"People who view industrialization as a source of the Earth's troubles,
its pollution, and the desecration of its surface, can only advocate that we
give it up. This is something that we can't do; we have the tiger by the
tail. We have 4.5 billion people on Earth. We can't support that many unless
we're industrialized and technologically advanced. So, the idea is not to
get rid of industrialization but to move it somewhere else. If we can move
it a few thousand miles into space, we still have it, but not on Earth.
Earth can then become a world of parks, farms, and wilderness without giving
up the benefits of industrialization."
"If Earth is considered a closed system, there will be less for all
forever. The frontier is closed, the wilderness is gone, nature is being
destroyed by human consumers, while billions are starving. The future indeed
looks grim, and there are, ultimately, no really long-range, positive
solutions, nor motivation for making the sacrifices and doing the hard work
needed now, unless we understand that we are evolving from an Earth-only
toward an Earth-space or universal species."
"One of the most thoughtless statements, parroted ad nauseam ever since
rational concern for our environment exploded into an emotional syndrome,
calls Man the only animal that soils its own nest. Every animal soils its
nest with the products of its metabolism if unable to move away. Space
technology gives us for the first time the freedom to leave our nest, at
least for certain functions, in order not to soil it."
"There are three reasons why, quite apart from scientific considerations,
mankind needs to travel in space. The first reason is garbage disposal; we
need to transfer industrial processes into space so that the earth may
remain a green and pleasant place for our grandchildren to live in. The
second reason is to escape material impoverishment: the resources of this
planet are finite, and we shall not forego forever the abundance of solar
energy and minerals and living space that are spread out all around us. The
third reason is our spiritual need for an open frontier."
"As long as there is the safety valve of unexplored frontiers, the
aggressive and exploitive urges of human beings can be channeled into
long-term possibilities and benefits. But as those frontiers close down, and
people begin to turn in upon themselves, that jeopardizes the democratic
fabric itself. I don't happen to think the frontier is closed. It's
just opening up in space... The human race is going out and throughout,
wherever space will permit us to go. It's only a question of when, and who,
and what kind of leadership will take us there. And I, for one, don't think
we ought to be looking just down here below."
"The possible advantages of [space colonization] are many and not to be
taken lightly. In theory many of humanity's most environmentally destructive
activities could be removed from the biosphere entirely. The population
density of the Earth could be reduced, and a high quality of life could be
provided to all Homo sapiens. It might even make war obsolete...
Environmentalists often accuse politicians of taking too short-term a view
of the human predicament. By prematurely rejecting the idea of space
colonies they would be making the same mistake."
"Any hostility that some environmentalists have shown toward space
projects arises from the intense sense of responsibility to focus on the
needs of the planet. They have not come to appreciate--and hardly anyone
has--that the long-term health of this world requires that we also develop
the capacity to leave it in large numbers. So this is our dual responsibility
to the planet that gave us our existence: to protect her and to spread her
seeds. It's actually very simple and obvious if you think about it. Both
activities are equally essential to maintain the balance of life. Now that
we are mature, we must begin to take these responsibilities very seriously."
"We of course have our problems, to say the least, in comportment towards
ourselves and our environment, but admittance to the cosmos and the spatial
infinity and temporal immortality it provides may well be just the remedy
for these age-old problems. Access to the boundless resources of the
universe may once and for all puncture the pressure of population and
politics of scarcity which have generated war, oppression, and plagued our
species from the start."
"The penetration of humankind into the universe, into its study and
mastery, is not an expression of the inability of human beings to grapple
with earthly difficulties and problems, not flight from them, but a
qualitatively new and often even unique, irreplaceable means of solving many
of the most important tasks of science, technology and the economy."
"Many, and some of the most pressing, of our terrestrial problems can be
solved only by going into space. Long before it was a vanishing commodity,
the wilderness as the preservation of the world was proclaimed by Thoreau.
In the new wilderness of the Solar System may lie the future preservation of
"The frontier in space, embodied in the space colony, is one in which the
interactions between humans and their environment is so much more sensitive
and interactive and less tolerant of irresponsibility than it is on the
whole surface of the Earth. We are going to learn how to relate to the Earth
and our own natural environment here by looking seriously at space colony
"Despite the campaign rhetoric, the bureaucracies--big business and big
government--are here to stay. The centralization effort cannot be checked.
but it can be rationally directed towards our species goal: Space Migration,
which in turn offers the only way to re-attain individual freedom of
space-time and the small-group social structures which obviously best suit
our nervous systems. It is another paradox of neuro-genetics that only in
space habitats can humanity return to the village life and pastoral style
for which we all long."
"We must open the frontier to expand this grand experiment called
freedom, because without an arena to feed and nurture the ideals of liberty,
individual choice and the right to do and be whatever you want they may well
perish from the Earth. We must open the frontier because without an edge to
our packed culture of individuals, nurturing and then bringing in new ideas
and giving release to bad ones, the center comes apart. We must open the
frontier to find and create new wealth for humanity, because everyone in the
world deserves the chance to have the same fine house, fine cars, and good
life you can potentially have, and this planet alone simply cannot provide
support that, unless you give up yours (and someone, sometime will try and
make you do so). We open the frontier to help save the planet we love from
the ravages caused by our ever growing numbers and our hunger for new forms
of energy, materials and products. Finally, and most importantly, we must
open the frontier as humans to survive as a species and to protect our
precious biosphere from destruction by the forces of the universe or
ourselves by making it redundant."
"For the environmentalists, The Space Option is the ultimate environmental
solution. For the Cornucopians, it is the technological fix that they are
relying on. For the hard core space community, the obvious by-product would
be the eventual exploration and settlement of the solar system. For most of
humanity however, the ultimate benefit is having a realistic hope in a
future with possibilities.... If our species does not soon embrace this
unique opportunity with sufficient commitment, it may miss its one and only
chance to do so. Humanity could soon be overwhelmed by one or more of the
many challenges it now faces. The window of opportunity is closing as fast
as the population is increasing.... Our future will be either a Space Age
or a Stone Age."
"It is the hope of those who work toward the breakout from planet Earth
that the establishment of permanent, self-sustaining colonies of humans
off-Earth will ... make human life forever unkillable, removing it from the
endangered species list, where it now stands on a fragile Earth overarmed
with nuclear weapons. Second, the opening of virtually unlimited new land
areas in space will reduce territorial pressures and therefore diminish
warfare on Earth itself."
"Unless people can see broad vistas of unused resources in front of them,
the belief in limited resources tends to follow as a matter of course. And
if the idea is accepted that the world's resources are fixed, then each
person is ultimately the enemy of every other person, and each race or
nation is the enemy of every other race or nation. The extreme result is
tyranny, war and even genocide. Only in a universe of unlimited resources
can all men be brothers."
"The prospective colonization of space responds, not to the particular
problems of the American nation, or of any other nation, but to those of
mankind as a whole... In an ideal view, such an undertaking by mankind as
a whole would tend to divert it from its present preoccupation with
international conflict, would tend to channel its energies into the pursuit
of a great common purpose."
"The crossing of space ... may do much to turn men's minds outwards and
away from their present tribal squabbles. In this sense, the rocket, far
from being one of the destroyers of civilisation, may provide the
safety-value that is needed to preserve it."
"War and space exploration are alternative uses of the assertive,
exploratory energies that are so characteristic of human beings. They may
also be mutually exclusive because if one occurs on a massive scale, the
other probably will not."
"Man is so made that he can progress only when challenged. If sociological
advance were to make war impossible before a planet's technology was
sufficiently developed, the people of that planet would never achieve the
means to expand to other worlds. If they waited for overpopulation to
confront them, it would be too late; they'd either become the victims of
mass starvation and chaos, or would resort to ruthless, planned killing
without the 'excuse' of war, followed by an irreversible decadence. But the
fuse is necessarily short. The technology, once achieved, must be used for
expansion; otherwise the tendency toward war outlives its purpose and
results in inescapable disaster."
"Every civilization [in the universe] must go through this [a nuclear
crisis]. Those that don't make it destroy themselves. Those that do make it
end up cavorting all over the universe."
"It may take endless wars and unbearable population pressure to
force-feed a technology to the point where it can cope with space. In the
universe, space travel may be the normal birth pangs of an otherwise dying
race. A test. Some races pass, some fail."
"We need the stars... We need purpose! We need the image the Destiny
[to take root among the stars] gives us of ourselves as a purposeful, growing
species. We need to become the adult species that the Destiny can help us
become! If we're to be anything other than smooth dinosaurs who evolve, specialize
and die, we need the stars.... When we have no difficult, long-term purpose to
strive toward, we fight each other. We destroy ourselves. We have these
chaotic, apocalyptic periods of murderous craziness."
"We see purposeful movement--mobility--as the most important reason for
life's surviving and flourishing in every conceivable place... In this power
of movement, life has protected itself from life-destroying disasters--fire,
earthquakes, volcanoes, and disease plagues--which may strike one meadow or
one forest or one continent. Only a new kind of biological mobility could
prevent the total destruction of a life system imprisoned on one planet and
dependent on one star... If the nations of the earth work together to solve
the enormous challenge of a workable space ark, lasting world peace would be
a probable result. The required creativity and competition would absorb
human energies normally reserved for war."
"The eyes of the world now look into space, to the moon and to the
planets beyond, and we have vowed that we shall not see it governed by a
hostile flag of conquest, but by a banner of freedom and peace. We have
vowed that we shall not see space filled with weapons of mass destruction,
but with instruments of knowledge and understanding.... I do not say the we
should or will go unprotected against the hostile misuse of space any more
than we go unprotected against the hostile use of land or sea, but I do say
that space can be explored and mastered without feeding the fires of war,
without repeating the mistakes that man has made in extending his writ
around this globe of ours."
"I am convinced that of all the people on the two sides of the great
curtain, the space pilots are the least likely to hate each other. Like the
late Erich von Holst, I believe that the tremendous and otherwise not quite
explicable public interest in space flight arises from the subconscious
realization that it helps to preserve peace. May it continue to do so!"
"The fatalism of the limits-to-growth alternative is reasonable only
if one ignores all the resources beyond our atmosphere, resources thousands
of times greater than we could ever obtain from our beleaguered Earth. As
expressed very beautifully in the language of House Concurrent Resolution
451, 'This tiny Earth is not humanity's prison, is not a closed and
dwindling resource, but is in fact only part of a vast system rich in
"Men go into space .. to see whether it is the kind of place where other
men, and their families and their children, can eventually follow them. A
disturbingly high proportion of the intelligent young are discontented
because they find the life before them intolerably confining. The moon
offers a new frontier. It is as simple and splendid as that."
"I grew up with the notion that the frontier had shaped our characters
and that there was no frontier any more.... What we had to have were
frontiers in literature, scientific research, human welfare. That was a
beautiful figure of speech. I used it for years, but the first time somebody
really talked to me about space colonization and what it might be like to
really put a colony out there that could do as it liked, I discovered that
a little real new space in which you could put a new society was much more
exciting than pushing back those figurative new frontiers.... Space means
greater well-being for our children and adventure, an outlet for all the
things we thought there wasn't any outlet for, and a belief that the frontier
isn't closed, that there are endless possibilities and we don't need to be
discouraged by the population explosion, and we don't need to feel that life
is going to get duller and duller so it isn't worth living."
"This whole issue of limits to growth, which provides a psychological, as
well as a physical, cap on potential expansion of activity and awareness, has
had a very depressing effect on many people.... I don't for a moment think that
there's any concept which anyone's working with now which will be followed as a
straightforward scenario. But the idea embodied in concepts such as space
colonization or space industrialization, or availability of nonterrestrial
resources, is fundamental, and it will change the way in which people look at
"While civilization is more than a high material living standard it is
nevertheless based on material abundance. It does not thrive on abject
poverty or in an atmosphere of resignation and hopelessness. Therefore, the
end objectives of solar system exploration are social objectives, in the
sense that they relate to or are dictated by present and future human
"Space colonization offers mankind a radically new and different option:
The choice is no longer between continued growth until the limits of a small
planet force collapse back to subsistence farming versus drastic social and
economic changes to halt growth soon. We now have a third choice, that of
continuing growth, but in a very different direction."
"Without space included in the equation, 'sustainable growth' is an
oxymoron. Think about it a moment. It suggests a pattern of growth somehow
continuing indefinitely within a closed bubble--but a bubble can only
'sustain' so much growth before we bump into the walls.... Even with huge
improvements in clean technology and recycling, under the closed sustainable
growth scenario, it is simply impossible for every human on the planet Earth
to achieve the lifestyle of the average North American without destroying
that same planet. Yet, morally, there is absolutely no reason they should
not be as rich as we are.... We can sustain the growth of the human species
and the other life of planet Earth only by bursting the bubble. We must open
the space frontier."
"To think that we could stop growing could be compared to an imaginary
embryo that is in its sixth or seventh month and has decided to stop growing
in order to survive in the womb. The womb is the only environment it has
known; all others are feared out of ignorance. Assume, however, that the
embryo is very intelligent. It has kept records since the third or fourth
month. It extrapolates from its statistical data to the eighth or ninth
month. It sees environmental conditions in the womb growing precarious going
into the tenth and eleventh months. It decides this growth is impossible, so
that it had better stop growing in the fifth or sixth month before a
catastrophe occurs. What it doesn't know is that in the ninth month a change
will take place.... 'Mother' Earth and her latest children, humanity, are at
that same point now. Our new frame of reference will be the environmental
enlargement beyond Earth. Now that we possess the necessary technology, we
can 'breathe' and live beyond Earth, outside the womb of the biosphere in
which we grew up."
"How seriously does the conventional population planner take the instinct
of all breeds of living things to expand to the limits of their biological
enclosure? ... [Man] knows that he can destroy the Earth, and destroy the
race, and it worries him. Now, why should this consciousness itself not be
the ally of the profound urge of protoplasm to seek insurance against accident
and extinction? Numbers and dispersion--those are the strategies of survival.
To the thinking man the Earth suddenly in this generation appears a precarious
foothold for a mighty, climactic animal.... If man plants a foothold on Venus
or Mars he can breathe easier--though probably none of this wells up into the
conscious levels at all--because now the race can survive even if Earth is
kindled into a fireball. Another colony on a planet orbiting another star would
ease the pressure even more.... Biologists have long remarked that a new
environment usually stimulates the rate of increase of an animal population,
But the Technological Revolution is a new environment--omitting all
mention of Space. And man's population growth has been stimulated....
My friends are producing children whose children will live on Mars, because
in the depths of their nervous and cellular structure they can no longer
tolerate that the fate of man should dangle upon the existence of this one
"In my own view, the important achievement of Apollo was a demonstration
that humanity is not forever chained to this planet, and our visions go
rather further than that, and our opportunities are unlimited."
"In my considered opinion, the profit to be made by permanent settlement
in space is nothing less than the survival of industrial civilization, and
therefore the survival of nearly the entire human race, along with such
amenities as peace, freedom, enough to eat, and the chance to reach a high
age in good health."
"Space, [Stine] argues, is to be the scene of a Third Industrial
Revolution because there man can find virtually limitless energy and
resources. Pollution as a by-product of the First and Second Industrial
Revolutions disappears in the vastness of space. He pictures our present
earthbound industrial system as being a closed system for ecological
purposes. By developing space as a site for industry, man opens up the
system and ensures his future survival--a survival holding the promise of
plenty rather than scarcity."
"If the Third Industrial Revolution is not a realistic forecast, perhaps
it is the fate of all intelligent, self-aware species in the universe to
blaze like a supernova for one brief instant of climactic glory before
sinking into a final nuclear dark age. But I don't think so. I prefer to
believe that there is more to the human race than that. We have come far.
There are those among us who will not be daunted or denied a better future
or an ultimate destiny among the stars. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in
Politics, 'We think our civilization near the meridian, but we are
yet only at the cock-crowing and the morning star.'"
"It is not failure but success that is forcing man off this earth. It is
not sickness but the triumph of health... Our capacity to survive has
expanded beyond the capacity of Earth to support us. The pains we are
feeling are growing pains. We can solve growth problems in direct proportion
to our capacity to find new worlds... If man stays on Earth, his extinction
is sure even if he lasts till the sun expands and destroys him... It is no
longer reasonable to assume that the meaning of life lies on this earth
alone. If Earth is all there is for man, we are reaching the foreseeable
end of man."
"Recent studies have considered the detection of a spaceship visiting our
parish of the galaxy. In my opinion that last thought should bring a blush
to every human cheek... Fecklessness might be the main theme of [the
aliens'] report on the new-found source of radio pollution ... [that]
emanates from beings who have mastered a lot of physics, chemistry and
biology and yet let their children starve--while all around their planet the
energy of their mother star runs to waste in a desert of space."
"Interplanetary and interstellar colonists would be motivated by a desire
for new living space away from the rapidly-filling earth, or in later times,
the rapidly-filling solar system--new sources of energy, material resources,
new beauty and new knowledge... As the total human population increased ...
the number of scientists, musicians, artists and philosophers would increase
proportionally. And as the knowledge and power of the race increased, so
would the knowledge and power of the individual human being."
"Perhaps it won't matter, in the end, which country is the sower of the
seed of exploration. The importance will be in the growth of the new plant
of progress and in the fruits it will bear. These fruits will be a new breed
of the human species, a human with new views, new vigor, new resiliency, and
a new view of the human purpose. The plant: the tree of human destiny."
"Now, more than ever, we need people in space... The events of September
11 show us how vulnerable we and our civilization are down here on Earth...
So let us use our strength, our awareness of mortality as a civilization,
to do something truly lasting and earth-shaking for humanity. Let us join
with the peoples and cultures of this planet, the diversities of its
perspectives and religions and science, so we can leave it--not behind,
but as a springboard to something better."
"A new space race has begun, and most Americans are not even aware of it.
This race is not [about] political prestige or military power. This new race
involves the whole human species in a contest against time. All of the
people of the Earth are in a desperate race against disaster... To save the
Earth we must look beyond it, to interplanetary space. To present the
collapse of civilization and the end of the world as we know it, we must
understand that our planet does not exist in isolation."
"Once the threshold is crossed when there is a self-sustaining level of
life in space, then life's long-range future will be secure irrespective of
any of the risks on Earth... Will this happen before our technological
civilization disintegrates, leaving this as a might-have-been? Will the
self-sustaining space communities be established before a catastrophe sets
back the prospect of any such enterprise, perhaps foreclosing it forever? We
live at what could be a defining moment for the cosmos, not just for our
"This generation is crucial; we have the resources to get mankind off
this planet. If we don't do it, we may soon be facing a world of 15 billion
people and more, a world in which it's all we can do to stay alive; a world
without the resources to go into space and get rich... I don't think it will
come to that because the vision of the future is so clear to me. We need
realize only one thing: we do not inhabit 'Only One Earth.' Mankind doesn't
live on Earth. Man lives in a solar system... Given [a] basic space
civilization ... we'll have accomplished one goal: no single accident, no
war, no one insane action will finish us off."
"Our generation may stand at a crucial breakpoint in history, for we in
the presently affluent nations may be the last who can afford to open up the
high frontier. What we do during the next ten or twenty years may determine
whether future generations will live in a humane and rewarding society, or
whether they will spend their lives in desperate contention for the
dwindling sustenance afforded by our limited terrestrial resources."
"I firmly believe that we who are alive and can think today--in the
closing years of the 20th century--have a commitment to our species to make
sure that the flicker of movement we have thus managed in space stays
sufficiently kindled so that the people of the 21st century can build upon
and extend the human abode from Earth to the cosmos beyond."
"To fulfill our cosmic destiny and carry Life to the stars, we must act
quickly. The same unleashed powers that enable us to enliven the universe
are now, ironically, causing us to destroy the Earth. The longer we delay,
the further we may slip into a pit of our own digging. If we wait too long,
we will be swept into a world so poisoned by pollution, so overrun by masses
of starving people, so stripped of surplus resources, that there will be no
chance to ever leave this planet. Thus far, we have failed to use our new
powers for the ends they were intended. The result is an accelerating slide
toward disaster... We need to rupture the barriers that confine us to the
land mass of a single planet. By breaking out, we can assure our survival
and the continuation of Life."
"There may be only a brief window of opportunity for space travel during
which we will in principle have the capability to establish colonies (which
could in turn establish further colonies). If we let that opportunity pass
without taking advantage of it we will be doomed to remain on the Earth
where we will eventually go extinct."
"We hesitate about where to go from here in space. Yet our delay in
exploiting this window of opportunity could close off choices for our
descendants if the no-growth paradigm--or a failure of nerve--should come to
dominate the industrial nations... Because of our technologies, and the
scales of our political and economic organizations, we now have the option
of taking a conscious evolutionary step, expanding the presence and
influence of humanity beyond the biosphere that evolved us--and possibly
beyond the limits that otherwise would constrain our future... Our generation
is the first to have this choice. It may be up to us to prove that
intelligence armed with technology has long-term survival value."
"I believe it is urgent to begin now, before we are constrained by a
totally controlled society monitoring limited resources on the planet. Now
is the time to establish our extraterrestrial base in freedom; later it may
be under the coercion of necessity."
"Until now in world's history, whenever we've had a dark age, it's been
temporary and local. And other parts of the world have been doing fine. And
eventually, they help you get out of the dark age. We are now facing a
possible dark age which is going to be world-wide and permanent! That's not
fun. That's a different thing. But once we have established many worlds, we
can do whatever we want as long as we do it one world at a time."
"We should be most careful about retreating from the specific
challenge of our age. We should be reluctant to turn our back upon the
frontier of this epoch... We cannot be indifferent to space, because the
grand slow march of our intelligence has brought us, in our generation, to a
point from which we can explore and understand and utilize it. To turn back
now would be to deny our history, our capabilities."
"Many people are shrinking from the future and from participation in the
movement toward a new, expanded reality. And, like homesick travelers
abroad, they are focusing their anxieties on home. The reasons are not far
to seek. We are at a turning point in human history... We could turn our
attention to the problems that going to the moon certainly will not solve
... But I think this would be fatal to our future... A society that no
longer moves forward does not merely stagnate; it begins to die."
"If two or three hundred years from now an earthbound civilization is
dying ... and they look back at the opportunity that we have here at the
close of the twentieth century to move out into space and they see that we
didn't do anything with it ... I don't want history to judge us on having
blown this opportunity, and I think history will judge us on this more than
on any other issue."
"It may be that the venture into space is the product of biological
determinism which impels us to explore a new environment when we are
"The space effort is very simply a continuation of the expansion of
ecological range, which has been occurring at an accelerating rate
throughout the evolutionary history of Man... Successful extraterrestrial
colonization, for example, might be counted as an evolutionary "success,"
and unsuccessful colonization--abandonment of the space effort--as an
evolutionary "failure." ... Space exploration should be considered primarily
as a biological thrust outward for the human species, and not just another
step toward making life easier through a speedup in technology."
"I think that space flight is a condition of Nature that comes into effect
when an intelligent species reaches the saturation point of its planetary
habitat combined with a certain level of technological ability... I think it
is a built-in gene-directed drive for the spreading of the species and its
"One of the most fundamental aspects of life is its relentless pursuit of
new environmental niches to colonize. It seems inevitable that, sooner or
later, living things will spread off the planet--if not us, then perhaps
whatever comes after us. Seen this way, a space station need not be a tin
can. It can be like the reptile's egg, the bold evolutionary innovation that
contained the water and the salts of the oceans and brought them safely onto
"In the long run, the only solution I see to the problem of diversity is
the expansion of mankind into the universe by means of green technology...
Green technology means we do not live in cans but adapt our plants and our
animals and ourselves to live wild in the universe as we find it... When
life invades a new habitat, she never moves with a single species. She comes
with a variety of species, and as soon as she is established, her species
spread and diversify further. Our spread through the galaxy will follow her
"It is inconsistent with the nature of life--as revealed by the record of
the past--for a species to remain in an environmental niche when the
opportunity exists for escape. Most individuals of the species remain within
the security and comfort of the environment to which they have become
adapted... [But] certain individuals will always probe the limits of their
environment. These adventurous few are the vanguard of a new development in
the evolution of life... As most fish remained in the water, and most apes
remained in the forest, just so, in tomorrow's world most of us will remain
on the earth... But a small percentage of the human species ... will leave
us, and their descendants will spread out into the galaxy."
"We should have positive expectations of what is in the universe, not
fears and dreads. We are made with the realization that we're not
Earthbound, and that our acceptance of the universe offers us room to
explore and extend outward. It's like being in a dark room and imagining all
sorts of terrors. But when we turn on the light--technology--suddenly it's
just a room where we can stretch out and explore. If the resources here on
Earth are limited, they are not limited in the universe. We are not
constrained by the limitations of our planet.... As children have to leave
the security of family and home life to insure growth into mature adults, so
also must humankind leave the security and familiarity of Earth to reach
maturity and obtain the highest attainment possible for the human race."
"The urge to explore has propelled evolution since the first water
creatures reconnoitered the land. Like all living systems, cultures cannot
remain static; they evolve or decline. They explore or expire... Beyond all
rationales, space flight is a spiritual quest in the broadest sense, one
promising a revitalization of humanity and a rebirth of hope no less
profound than the great opening out of mind and spirit at the dawn of our
"When the history of our galaxy is written, and for all any of us know it
may already have been, if Earth gets mentioned at all it won't be because
its inhabitants visited their own moon. That first step, like a newborn's
cry, would be automatically assumed. What would be worth recording is what
kind of civilization we earthlings created and whether or not we ventured
out to other parts of the galaxy."
"We shall move out there, not because we want to but because we have to.
There is an immediate reason for going--the earth's surface may soon become
uninhabitable because of nuclear war or some other catastrophe, and we want
the human race to survive--but there is a deeper and more compelling reason
for going. We are what our remote ancestors were--colonists, always on the
march toward better environments, always evolving, always adapting, learning
how to control the physical world to our advantage. It is inconceivable that
we have here and now come to the end of our long march, reduced to clinging
to what we have, with no prospect for improvement--no hope. Rather we must
view our present situation, with all its very real problems, as merely an
overnight campsite along the way."
"When it is realized that man's future, his greatest fulfillment, may lie
in the cosmos and not on the surface of the earth at all, then it is
strongly suggested that mankind has not reached maturity but only completed
gestation. Man is a creature not merely of the earth. Man's creation began
as a turbulence in a cloud of gas in infinite space and proceeded by
condensation into a galaxy, stars, planets, and finally the seas and
continents of the earth. These speculations lead inescapably to the concept
that man is the creature of the cosmos, not of the earth; that the earth is
only his womb, his chrysalis perhaps."
"We are at the stage of the flower bud, not the bloom; the pregnant
woman, not the newborn. In this stage we represent only the potential for
the extension of life into the cosmos, with no guarantee that we will
succeed. Humanity is the means by which evolution has determined achieve its
end... Not to act in building civilizations beyond this planet is quite
literally to go against the very demand of the universe. If we are resolved
to participate in this effort, we must be willing to get very close to the
evolutionary tension throbbing within us, and boldly act in accordance with
"Earth has provided a stable platform for the evolution of life over 4
billion years. But that lease is limited; we know for sure that it will
expire after a few billion more. Long before that, our planet may become a
place where it is no longer suitable for us to live. Increasing luminosity
of the sun may gradually boil our oceans, or more sudden catastrophes may
threaten our existence. If we are wise, we will have furnished our new
apartments long before that time."
"Eventually we must leave Earth--at least a certain number of our progeny
must as our sun approaches the end of its solar life cycle. But just as
terrestrial explorers have always led the way for settlers, this will also
happen extraterrestrially. Earth is our cradle, not our final destiny."
"As soon as somebody demonstrates the art of flying, settlers from our
species of man will not be lacking [on the moon and Jupiter]... Given ships
or sails adapted to the breezes of heaven, there will be those who will not
shrink from even that vast expanse."
"In spite of the opinions of certain narrow-minded people, who would shut
up the human race upon this globe, as within some magic circle which it must
never outstep, we shall one day travel to the moon, the planets, and the
stars, with the same facility, rapidity, and certainty as we now make the
voyage from Liverpool to New York."
"A time will come when science will transform [our bodies] by means which
we cannot conjecture... And then, the earth being small, mankind will
migrate into space, and will cross the airless Saharas which separate planet
from planet, and sun from sun. The earth will become a Holy Land which will
be visited by pilgrims from all quarters of the universe."
"It is conceivable that some great unexpected mass of matter should
presently rush upon us out of space, whirl sun and planets aside like dead
leaves before the breeze, and collide with and utterly destroy every spark
of life upon this earth... It is conceivable, too, that some pestilence may
presently appear, some new disease, that will destroy not 10 or 15 or 20 per
cent of the earth's inhabitants as pestilences have done in the past, but
100 per cent, and so end our race... And finally there is the reasonable
certainty that this sun of ours must some day radiate itself toward
extinction... There surely man must end. That of all such nightmares is the
most insistently convincing. And yet one doesn't believe it. At least I do
not. And I do not believe in these things because I have come to believe in
certain other things--in the coherency and purpose in the world and in the
greatness of human destiny. Worlds may freeze and suns may perish, but there
stirs something within us now that can never die again."
"A manuscript I wrote on January 14, 1918 ... and deposited in a friend's
safe ... speculated as to the last migration of the human race, as
consisting of a number of expeditions sent out into the regions of thickly
distributed stars, taking in a condensed form all the knowledge of the race,
using either atomic energy or hydrogen, oxygen and solar energy... [It] was
contained in an inner envelope which suggested that the writing inside
should be read only by an optimist."
"On earth, even if we should use all the solar energy which we receive,
we should still be wasting all but one two-billionths of the energy the sun
gives out. Consequently, when we have learnt to live on this solar energy
and also to emancipate ourselves from the earth's surface, the possibilities
of the spread of humanity will be multiplied accordingly... There will, from
desire or necessity, come the idea of building a permanent home for men in
space... At first space navigators, and then scientists whose observations
would be best conducted outside the earth, and then finally those who for
any reason were dissatisfied with earthly conditions would come to inhabit
these bases and found permanent spatial colonies."
"Man must at all costs overcome the Earth's gravity and have, in reserve,
the space at least of the Solar System. All kinds of danger wait for him on
the Earth... We are talking of disaster that can destroy the whole of
mankind or a large part of it... For instance, a cloud of bolides [meteors]
or a small planet a few dozen kilometers in diameter could fall on the
Earth, with such an impact that the solid, liquid or gaseous blast produced
by it could wipe off the face of the Earth all traces of man and his
buildings. The rise of temperature accompanying it could alone scorch or
kill all living beings... We are further compelled to take up the struggle
against gravity, and for the utilisation of celestial space and all its
wealth, because of the overpopulation of our planet. Numerous other terrible
dangers await mankind on the Earth, all of which suggest that man should
look for a way into the Cosmos. We have said a great deal about the advantages
of migration into space, but not all can be said or even imagined."
"For me, a rocket is only a means--only a method of reaching the depths
of space--and not an end in itself... There's no doubt that it's very
important to have rocket ships since they will help mankind to settle
elsewhere in the universe. But what I'm working for is this resettling...
The whole idea is to move away from the Earth to settlements in space."
"No matter how vast, how total, the failure of man here on earth, the
work of man will be resumed elsewhere. War leaders talk of resuming
operations on this front and that, but man's front embraces the whole
"Sooner or later for good or ill, a united mankind, equipped with science
and power, will probably turn its attention to the other planets, not only
for economic exploitation, but also as possible homes for man... The goal
for the solar system would seem to be that it should become an
interplanetary community of very diverse worlds ... each contributing to the
common experience its characteristic view of the universe. Through the
pooling of this wealth of experience, through this "commonwealth of worlds,"
new levels of mental and spiritual development should become possible, levels
at present quite inconceivable to man."
"I only hope that we shall not wait to adopt the program until after our
astronomers have reported a new and unsuspected aster[oid] moving across
their fields of vision with menacing speed. At that point it will be too
"The point to remember is that a giant leap into space can be a giant
leap toward peace down below."
"This is the goal: To make available for life every place where life is
possible. To make inhabitable all worlds as yet uninhabitable, and all life
"Don't tell me that man doesn't belong out there. Man belongs wherever
he wants to go--and he'll do plenty well when he gets there."
"There is no way back into the past; the choice, as Wells once said, is
the universe--or nothing. Though men and civilizations may yearn for rest,
for the dream of the lotus-eaters, that is a desire that merges
imperceptibly into death. The challenge of the great spaces between the
worlds is a stupendous one; but if we fail to meet it, the story of our race
will be drawing to its close."
"Life, for ever dying to be born afresh, for ever young and eager, will
presently stand upon this earth as upon a footstool, and stretch out its
realm amidst the stars."
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