Damn near every inch of land on Earth has been colonized. Don’t be surprised when property developers began to build Starbucks and high-rise luxury condos in Antarctica. And Namor better watch out—there are even questions about the possibilities of colonizing the ocean floor. Since land is finite here on this big ball of blue, the colonizers are naturally eying outer space as a new frontier. Yup, the United States is hoping to be conquistadors of the moon and, one day, Mars, too.
The Space Race that took place decades ago was all about exploration and competition. It was a strange combination of bolstering military strength through satellite technology and a dick-measuring contest between powerful nations based on scientific acumen. How often do countries engage in conflict and the winner is the place that’s better at doing math? The nerd fight was so intense that the United States and Soviet Union were tripping over themselves to hire Nazi scientists (should we start calling NASA, NAZA?).
Now, the United States is funding a program called Artemis. The mission, also led by Canada and Japan’s NASA equivalents, hopes to put the first woman and person of color on the moon in the short term. The long term goal is to install a permanent base on the moon by 2025 and eventually explore Mars. The long-term-long-term goal is of course to colonize the moon and extract whatever resources are available.
According to Vox, Namrata Goswami, an independent space policy analyst, says “it’s very clear that this is not just about the research and the science, but it’s also going to be about the economic prospects from the moon… Until now, the U.S. has been very reticent to so clearly engage in a manufacturing use of lunar resources.” America and its allies aren’t the only nations interested in moon colonization, either; China and that old foe Russia have plans, too.
With all of these different nations looking for a way to make a buck on the moon, you can be very sure there will be a geopolitical conflict that is now on the scale of not just Earth, but the whole damn galaxy. This begs a couple of questions. The first of which is, was Donald Trump on to something when he founded the Space Force? And the other is, why are we spending an estimated $93 billion on Artemis between 2012-2025, when all that money could be used to help people survive on Earth?
I don’t know, guess colonizers gon’ colonize.