Let’s go to space.

If you are interested in the future of humanity in space, read on. I have a proposition for you all.

Devin Schoeffler

I spend a lot of time walking at night. It gives me a quiet place to think, without distraction.

Tonight was particularly clear. A crisp winter night leaving the dome of the sky open above for me to take in. I want to be up there, not down here. I know a lot of you feel like I do. It’s like we have to keep it secret, like we should be ashamed of it.

I feel like my father’s generation dreamed about the sky and beyond so much more than my generation did. For my father’s generation there was Sputnik and Apollo. For us there was the dismantling of the Soviet/American cold war, and the correlative winding down of both national space industries. They shut down the shuttle program and didn’t bother funding something new.

It feels like the trajectory of our ascent as a species to the stars has stalled.

For me, that translates to a possible end to humanity. No future for any of our collective descendants. I want to be able to dream about a humanity that over the course of thousands of years spreads from solar system to solar system and becomes something far greater than just apes who built amazing machines and then simply winked out of existence for all eternity.

If the idea of humanity winking out of existence terrifies you, know that you are not the only one.

Perhaps our ability to choose our direction has been slowly declining. It certainly seem that throughout my lifetime, and perhaps even before that it has been so. We are making “progress” in some areas, and in some not. Which is which feels to me like it is mostly left entirely up to chance. We as a species have no way to decide together that we want something. To go to space we need to decide that together because I think it is far beyond the capabilities of a country. Right now I think we are waiting for permission from our governments for that. But, really, they are not doing much because their focus isn’t up there. National interests are down here.

We have the freedom to decide

I think that we have set precedent in recent years with large numbers of people deciding together that they have seen an idea that they like, building a community around it, and funding it themselves. Bitcoin and Ethereum are two very good examples, but there are literally hundreds of these projects being built today. Some of these projects have raised Billions of dollars, all because someone had a dream and others looked at it and said that it had value. There were no legal or governmental roadblocks between people (sometimes fools) and their money, and those who wanted the latter in a quest for some goal.

If you’re still here reading this, you probably already know what I’m going to propose but, just for sake of completeness, I’ll lay it out.

We need to decide right now that we want to go. We don’t have to wait for the next generation to start. We do not need anyone’s permission.

We need internal governance and funding to go to the stars. Modern concepts like decentralized autonomous communities and crowd-funding via token mechanism allow us to have a way to do both.

We need to be able to manage research, decide together what works and what doesn’t. We need to be able to delegate tasks. We need to prepare, and finally we need to build.

All of that seems insurmountable right now because it is huge. It is government on a scale we can’t imagine, dealing with problems nobody has ever faced. That’s ok. We don’t need to tackle all of that. We just need to decide together right now that we want to go.

Do you? If so, let’s start talking about it. Let’s build out a committee of interested parties and start planning what our first steps are.

Here is a link to a new Telegram group, SpaceGovernance, with this focus.

Some questions to consider

  1. How do we decide things?
  2. Who gets to participate and how do we weight their votes?
  3. Is everyone equal?
  4. Do some people get more votes? Why?
  5. How do we fund the project?
  6. Who will have access to these funds?
  7. Who makes the rules?
  8. How do we enforce them?
  9. Where do we focus our research?
  10. Who owns the product of the project?
  11. Whose descendants get to go?