To the Rt Hon Greg Clark
Time to challenge ESA’s priorities
The greatest political dilemma of our age arises from the facts that a free, democratic society needs to be founded on a condition of continual economic growth, whereas planet Earth can only sustain a finite amount of material growth, and it is widely accepted that the limits to that growth are already being approached.
Since the beginning of the space age, however, new resources for growth have come within our reach, namely those found on the other planets of our Solar System and its asteroids and comets, as well as the full power output of the Sun. These resources are greater than those available to us on Earth by many orders of magnitude. It is easily shown that they could sustain economic and population growth at rates of 1 to 2% per annum for a full millennium into the future
From a political point of view, therefore, the most important task of public space agencies is to develop the technologies that will enable human beings to live permanently and comfortably away from their planet of origin. It is likewise to assist private industry in ensuring a smooth and prompt transfer of exponential economic and population growth off Earth and out into the rest of the Solar System.