Voyaging to the Heart of Darkness - The Slave Trade and the 1841 Niger Expedition as Precursors to Modern Interplanetary Colonization

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D.J. Sivier (2003), JBIS, 56, 56-65

Refcode: 2003.56.56
Keywords: Space colonisation, historical analogues, technological parallels, Niger expedition

Arguments for the commercialisation and colonisation of space have often been supported with examples from terrestrial history, which closely parallel the problems and strategies facing extraterrestrial colonisation. A particularly instructive episode in British colonial history was the 1841 expedition to the Niger. Not only did this feature technology prefiguring that later adopted in space vehicle life support systems, but the mission itself and its collapse provide important lessons on the necessity of mobilising public support for such missions, avoid- ance of severe casualties and utility of a strategy of exploration by proxy and gradual, incremental approach to exploration.

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