How we’ll leave Earth for good

In Oc­to­ber 1968, the as­tro­nauts Apollo 7 mis­sion into space sent and US kick-started the race to reach the Moon. Now, 50 years on, we look at some of the dis­cov­er­ies and tech­nol­ogy that will help us set up a per­ma­nent new home in space

Focus-Science and Technology - - CONTENTS -

If we want to build a new civil­i­sa­tion in space, we’re go­ing to have to make max­i­mum use of our species’ abil­ity to adapt and in­no­vate.

Planet Earth has been home to hu­mans for hun­dreds of thou­sands of years, and it’s served us well. But with the global pop­u­la­tion ever grow­ing, and hu­mans con­tin­u­ing to pol­lute and plun­der the Earth’s fi­nite re­sources, our planet is look­ing in­creas­ingly im­per­illed. A 2012 World Wildlife Fund re­port es­ti­mated that by 2030 we’ll need the equiv­a­lent of two plan­ets in or­der to sus­tain our life­styles. And it’s pretty much a cer­tainty that we’ll have to move at some point, with the Sun fore­cast to in­crease in bright­ness and boil away our oceans in around a bil­lion years’ time.

So sci­en­tists are be­gin­ning to look to­wards the stars, fig­ur­ing out how we might one day set up base else­where. Over the fol­low­ing 10 pages, we look at the lat­est re­search into how we’ll har­ness re­sources, build a set­tle­ment, grow food, make ba­bies and stay healthy on our new home. WORDS: COLIN STU­ART AND KELLY OAKES

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