|From http://www.wired.com/ - Is this what the future looks like?|
|Remote camera photo from "Of Course I Still Love You" droneship|
of SpaceX Falcon 9 first stage landing. Credit: SpaceX
"The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s: but the earth hath he given to the children of men." A clear distinction is set: Earth has been given to men, but the heavens have not.
The trouble is that the original writer was almost certainly not thinking about the possibility of living in space, because at that time, about 3000 years ago, the Jews had something like a three-tiered cosmology of an airy heaven (the atmosphere), with above that the starry heaven, and beyond that the highest heaven where God himself dwells; nobody at that time is recorded as proposing that anyone could live beyond the airy heaven. Very often the Hebrew words translated 'heaven' and 'the heavens' either mean the sky and clouds, or the place where God and the angels dwell, or a place so far away that it's obviously used as an exaggeration. A more even-handed reading of the Bible as a whole uncovers many references to God owning both Earth and heaven and appointing humankind as tenants and stewards of all of it. For a good discussion of this, see this page.
And also carefully guard yourselves so that you don’t look up into the skies and see the sun and moon and stars, all the constellations of the skies, and be seduced into worshiping and serving them. God set them out for everybody’s benefit, everywhere. (Deuteronomy 4 v.19, The Message version)
Interesting, that last thought. Again, I'm pretty sure that Moses wasn't thinking of asteroid mining when he first said this, but it contributes to a simple principle: God made it all for everyone's benefit. The whole book – Deuteronomy as well as the Bible as a whole – is full of concern for the poor, the orphan, the widow, the stranger, who can be so easily marginalised or abused.
I'm not so naive to imagine that many space colonists are going to suddenly acknowledge that they are morally responsible to their Creator and will act accordingly. But some of those involved in policy-making and colony-building will discover, I hope, that a modernised 'theistic' worldview is the foundation they have been seeking on which to build new worlds. And for others, if they're pragmatic enough to seek a tried and tested ethic, and open-minded enough to reject the popular chorus that 'all problems are caused by religion so ditch all references to that kind of God', exploring the ancient wisdom of the monotheistic faiths will yield treasures more lasting than the kind you might find in a space rock.
(postscript: I just found this detailed paper entitled 'A Pragmatic Approach to Sovereignty on Mars' by Sara Bruhns and Jacob Haqq-Misra of the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science. It seems I'm not the only one thinking on this topic - in fact they have a much better grasp of it all. - July 11th, 2016 - JP)
|Image credit: Getty images / Huffington Post|
According to one Arianespace managing director, "'It's quite clear there's a very significant challenge coming from SpaceX,' he said. 'Therefore, things have to change … and the whole European industry is being restructured, consolidated, rationalised and streamlined.' "
Jean Botti, Chief technology officer for Airbus Group (which makes the Ariane 5) warned that "those who don't take Elon Musk seriously will have a lot to worry about"
Asteroid mining companies: