Who Controls the Last Frontier?

Yesterday Adavya Dhawan led the 2018 fellows in a discussion about the privatization of space travel and what the future holds for our space program. We discussed the implications of allowing private companies, such as entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX program, to be the pioneers in the discovery and colonization of planets. Currently, private companies have led the charge in the effort to colonize Mars, and SpaceX has announced its plans to send humans to Mars by 2023. These corporations provide beneficial contributions to the finances and development of the world’s space program; however, they also present the issue of being too elitist for the majority of people and possibly holding too much power in such an important issue. Going off of that topic, we began to discuss relatively hypothetical situations. For instance, a few of us brought up the issue of whether the governments on Earth or the first people who arrive at a planet should be able to claim it. To support their claims, those arguing for federal control drew comparisons to previous colonial expeditions like Antarctica. Those arguing for the privatization of space travel claimed that space was a completely different frontier than anything on Earth and that the companies which put in their own time and money should reap their own benefits. In the end, all of our cohort came to an agreement that there needed to be a worldwide council in the future that regulates the further travel and discovery of space.

-Jimmy Peccie ’18

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