Our space economy is 100% an Earth-centric space economy. If it stays that way, we’re screwed.
We have a pretty robust space economy, and it’s growing quite nicely. NASA and other space agencies around the globe, commercial/private space companies, Mars and Moon exploration, satellite-based internet, GPS, communications, military, university research, etc. are all part of the Earth-centric space economy.
100% Spent On Earth Is Not Good
What is the #1 come-back when someone complains about space exploration and says the money should instead be spent on Earth? The answer is: 100% of the money spent on space is, in fact, 100% spent on Earth. That’s true. And that’s a good thing, right? Wrong!
Their Own Economies
If we want to eventually have a town or city on the Moon and/or Mars, then that town or city is primarily going to be it’s own economy. We have to come to grips with the fact that we’ll need to spend money on the Moon and/or Mars to get those economies going. Besides, it’s not like we’ll be giving away our resources to a bunch of extra-terrestrial aliens. It’s still us, trying to create a more diverse and brighter future for ourselves.
There will still be trade back and forth between Earth and cities on Mars and the Moon but the bulk of those economies will take place at their own localities. This isn’t much different from what we already have on Earth. For example, even though there’s trade between New York and California (and most other parts of the world), California’s economy is primarily taking place in California, and New York’s economy is primarily taking place in New York. In addition, the extreme remoteness and huge expense of space travel makes setting up local economies based on their own local resources essential.
Direct Benefits, But It Severely Limits Our Potential
Unfortunately, NASA’s charter and efforts are geared towards exploration and direct benefits for Earth, instead of trying to create any kind of economy beyond Earth. This continues to severely limit our potential. This is why nobody lives on the Moon or Mars.
So, let’s stop being so selfish. Let’s start building an economy on the Moon, for the Moon. It’s the only way we’re going to graduate past the Earth-centric, flags and footprints budgetary limitations of exploration. And, it actually does benefit Earth.