Terraforming Mars in a Climate of Existential Risk

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K. Mansfield (2018), JBIS, 71, pp.348-354

Refcode: 2018.71.348
Keywords: Great filter, Outer Space Treaty, Colonization, Extraterrestrial life, Planetary protection, Bostrom, Hanson, NASA, SpaceX,

Technology has led us to a point where we are close to being able to begin the colonization of the solar system and ultimately beyond; it has also created the means to generate our own extinction, just as every formerly dominant species on Earth has gone extinct before us. While that remains a significant risk, the Outer Space Treaty should be revised to allow a Mars colonization and terraforming programme designed to create a second viable biosphere for humans – an important step in securing the future survival of our species. Mindful of Robin Hanson’s “Great Filter” , this paper will argue that an aggressive terraforming programme should take priority over preserving the red planet for the long-term scientific investigation of life on Mars.

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