WHERE WE’LL GO
FIVE POTENTIAL DESTINATIONS
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.