Re: "Raping the planets" and other PR disasters

Date: Fri Jun 23 2000 - 15:51:51 MDT

Corey writes:
> Following the recent Mars threads, and the parallel though unrelated outburst
> of heaton the >H list, I feel I have to speak up about the public relations
> gap futurists, and especially >H and Extropians are facing.
> "Why live in a gravity well when you can disassemble the planets and
> distribute their mass..."
> [...]
> Claims like these, even if made in jest, will turn what could be a very strong
> public relations asset to a serious disadvantage - instead of "tour Mars: see
> the majestic cliffs of Olympus Mons" the slogan would be "don't return to the
> 1900s - save space from the industrialists" or "Don't repeat the mistakes of
> Earth - Don't mine Mars!"

I don't think these comments are necessarily being made in jest.
Some people do believe that planets are an inefficient use of mass.
Most of the mass is on the interior and doesn't do anyone any good, aside
from providing some gravity. And if you need that, you can probably
get it more efficiently by centrifugal force or stellar gravity.

It may be that these ideas are difficult for people to accept and do
bring to mind the environmental catastrophes in the past. But I don't
think we should necessarily tone down our views as a result.

Nobody is going to be taking Mercury apart in the next decade. But 50
or 100 years from now, it may be possible and desirable. At that point,
society's social views will probably have changed at least as much as our
own views have changed from those 50 or 100 years ago. There is no way
to predict whether future society will be radical environmentalists or
"pave the universe" developers by our own standards. I don't think we
have to be that careful to couch our views in a manner which is acceptable
to this month's mores.


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