Focus-Science and Technology - - LEAVING EARTH -

Lo­ca­tion: The Moon Dis­tance from Earth: 384,400 km (av­er­age)

Pros: Could evac­u­ate back to Earth in an emer­gency. A great test­ing ground for new tech­nol­ogy. No com­mu­ni­ca­tions de­lay to speak of.

Cons: Nights that last two weeks. No at­mos­phere or mag­netic field for pro­tec­tion. Wildly fluc­tu­at­ing tem­per­a­tures.

Lo­ca­tion: Mars Dis­tance from Earth: 225 mil­lion km (av­er­age)

Pros: The only planet in our So­lar Sys­tem that’s not ei­ther too hot or made of gas. Plenty of wa­ter ice. Rel­a­tively close.

Cons: No mag­netic field to pro­tect against ra­di­a­tion. Vi­cious dust storms the size of con­ti­nents. Com­mu­ni­ca­tions with Earth de­layed by 20 min­utes.

Lo­ca­tion: Europa (moon of Jupiter) Dis­tance from Earth: 628 mil­lion km (av­er­age)

Pros: More liq­uid wa­ter than all of Earth’s oceans, lakes, rivers and seas com­bined.

Cons: In the fir­ing line of in­tense ra­di­a­tion belts created by Jupiter’s mag­netic field. Vul­ner­a­ble to me­te­orites pulled in by the So­lar Sys­tem’s big­gest planet.

Lo­ca­tion: In­ter­plan­e­tary space Dis­tance from Earth: > 1 mil­lion km

Pros: Mov­able. Un­lim­ited space to build a habi­tat or­bit­ing Earth or an­other planet – you aren’t re­stricted by to­pog­ra­phy. Grav­ity could be recre­ated to match Earth’s.

Cons: You’d need to build and as­sem­ble ev­ery­thing from scratch, with no help from the land­scape.

Lo­ca­tion: Ke­pler-438b Dis­tance from Earth: 470 light-years (4.4 quadrillion km)

Pros: One of the most Earth-like exoplanets found so far. Sits on the in­ner edge of its star’s hab­it­able zone.

Cons: Would take more than a hu­man life­time to reach. Or­bits a red dwarf, which are thought to have po­ten­tially life-de­stroy­ing so­lar flares.

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