...and other real-life space exploration points here.
A lot of people rightly ridicule sci-fi inspired space enthusiasm. Space exploration within our lifetimes is actually going to be dirty, uncomfortable, boring, and bloody. Once it really gets underway, lots of people are going to die - some in very horrific ways.
The frontier is always messy.
Hopefully we can plan enough in order to avoid cannibalism on this frontier, but there might be cannibalism. Who knows? When the Jamestown cannibalism story came out a regular blog reader emailed me and asked if I still wanted to be in the first wave to Mars. Nope, I replied. That's exactly why I personally am waiting until the 1650s or so (Jamestown was settled in 1607). I'll let someone else work out the bugs.
I was not really a sci-fi fan growing up. Never watched much Star Trek. I did like Star Wars but I wasn't an obsessive fan. I'm more inclined toward sci-fi these days (on TV or in movies - I still don't read it), but I'm still not a Comic-Con level of fan. I get into this stuff because of my interest in the economics of long-run growth and the potential it holds for human flourishing. That - I think - inoculates one a little to these misconceptions about the degree to which space exploration is a messy, bloody business. After all - economic development here on Earth has been a messy, bloody business.
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