For my Archive project, I would like to discuss a science fiction creation called Terraforming. Terraforming which means “Earth-Shaping” is an idea taken from science fiction and mixed with real science. It basically deals with modifying another planet’s atmosphere, temperature, and surface to be similar or exactly like earth. It makes other planets habitable by Human beings, and any type of planet life from our own planet. The term was coined by Jack Williamson in a science-fiction story (Collision Orbit) published during 1942 in Astounding Science Fiction. The idea of Terraforming isn’t a new subject, but now it’s a reality. I want to discuss the Science fiction concept as it moves into real life, and how it is capable today. I wasn’t to give a brief explanation of its history from its conception to today and what exactly we want to do with this idea. “Nevertheless current research suggests that humanity possesses the technical capacity (though perhaps not the economic capacity) to begin the process of terraforming the planet Mars” (On the Moral Permissibility of Terraforming). Currently, we are researching the possibility of Terraforming Mars so it can have our first space colony, it’s capable but it is costly it would take the majority of the worlds governments to band together and fund such an endeavor. The idea has many ethical issues with it as well as people see it as Invading another land and stealing what isn’t ours and taking its resources.
Touching on the history of terraforming, and its current capabilities I want to then dive into the moral and ethical issues people raise when dealing with changing other worlds to fit humanity’s needs. “Some people consider the idea of terraforming Mars heretical – humanity playing God,” said by Dr. Zubrin an American Aerospace Engineer. He went on further to state that “others would see in such an accomplishment the most profound vindication of the divine nature of the human spirit, exercised in its highest form to bring a dead world to life”. People see it as favoring human interests and could possibly lead to the extinction of indigenous extraterrestrial life, or the Interplanetary contamination. We don’t know what’s really out there in our universe we have already brought our own planet to its knees, and possibly beyond the point of no return to some critics. Humanity has also driven to extinction to many animals and sentient beings on our very own planet, and bringing that to another world isn’t ethical.
My final subject to end my terraforming proposal is to try and answer the question why we want to terraform another planet to fit humanity’s needs. Why does Humanity want to leave earth so badly, and not want to fix what we have done to our own planet before searching for another? Is our planet earth really too far gone to save, or is it more cost effective to invade and terraform another? Science fiction has dealt with the idea of leaving earth and making other planets earth like to hold life, I want to research the idea why writers wanted to start their stories on other planets. It could deal with the current political, or social environment the writers were living in at the time making them dream of leaving this planet. In conclusion, my project will deal with the idea of terraforming, its ethical issues, its history as a whole, and what is Humanities next steps in building on this idea taken straight from science fiction.
Schwartz, James S. J. “On the Moral Permissibility of Terraforming.” Ethics and the Environment, vol. 18, no. 2, 2013, pp. 1–31. www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/ethicsenviro.18.2.1.
Slotnick, Rebecca Sloan. “EXTREMOPHILIC TERRAFORMING.” American Scientist, vol. 88, no. 2, 2000, pp. 124–125. www.jstor.org/stable/27857990.
Luke, Timothy W. “Environmental Emulations: Terraforming Technologies and the Tourist Trade at Biosphere 2.” Ecocritique: Contesting the Politics of Nature, Economy, and Culture, NED – New edition, University of Minnesota Press, 1997, pp. 95–114, www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.cttts574.9.
“The Ethical Dimensions of Space Settlement” (pdf). Martyn J. Fogg. Probability Research Group
FREUDENRICH, CRAIG C. “SCI-FI SCIENCE: USING SCIENCE FICTION TO SET CONTEXT FOR LEARNING SCIENCE.” The Science Teacher, vol. 67, no. 8, 2000, pp. 42–45. www.jstor.org/stable/24154053.
PAK, CHRIS. Terraforming: Ecopolitical Transformations and Environmentalism in Science Fiction. Liverpool, Liverpool University Press, 2016, www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1gpcb56.
My proposal was originally dealing with the idea of a hyper space and scientific advancements that made their way into real life, stemming from Science fiction. It began with hyper space and branched off into hyper drives, space colonization and terraforming. My original idea was too broad of a topic and touched on too many topics at once to build a solid project proposal. In the peer review I got a lot of great feedback on what direction I should take, the most I heard was dealing with the idea of why do people think we should leave earth and colonize another planet, and why do science fiction authors always talk about the earth being in a state of destruction or it was destroyed previously causing the inhabitants to relocate to another planet. It could deal with what the authors were currently going through in their lives at the time their books were written possible political or social problems making them want to escape to another world and start over. I found it an interesting concept so I decided to focus more on the terraforming aspect, and I will also briefly touch on space colonization if I can expand on that topic further while touching the major points of my project. The comments I heard in the work shop were similar to the comments posted on my first proposal blog so it gave it an idea to pin point rather quickly. I’m prepared for another round because I think I might have gut my project too much giving me less to talk about. I believe I can add another aspect I wanted to touch on before, or maybe dive deeper into the aspects of terraforming and what progress we have made today in 2016.
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