Embryo space colonization

Republic of Lagrangia endorses the colonization of our own Solar System, and of the Lagrange points of the Sun-Earth system in particular, before any attempt is to be made at colonizing other stellar system. Despite decades of scientific research, currently no feasible methods for interstellar travel do  exist. Besides the lack of means for interstellar space travel, our Solar System contains huge quantities of natural resources, which can be used by humanity.

Because there is no technology available for achieving fast interstellar space travel, proponents of interstellar space colonization have proposed several alternatives. The three most important ones are: generation ships, sleeper ships and embryo space colonization. In this post we will discuss the latter option.

The rationale behind embryo space colonization is simple: interstellar travel takes much more time than the average life span of a human being, but (human) embryos can be stored frozen for an infinite amount of time. This concept faces several technical difficulties, but we want to limit ourselves here to the sense of embryo space colonization.

An ESC program  would be an expensive enterprise, and especially if tax money is involved, such a project is in need of a good justification. What are possible arguments in favour of Embryo Space Colonization?

Arguments for the colonization of our own Solar System include, among others: the mining and exporting of extraterrestrial resources for terrestrial consumption, to create enough room for a growing world population, or the establishment of better societies for political dissatisfied terrestrials. None of these arguments applies to embryo space colonization.

Provided that an ESC mission can be completed successfully, the export of resources to Earth is almost out of question, for the same reasons that have led to the very idea of ESC: long travel times. (Paul Krugman has written an essay in defense of extraterrestrial trade, however we are still sceptical about it.) And how embryo space colonization can solve overpopulation on Earth, is everyone’s guess.

As far as we can see, the primary, if not only, reason for ESC is to ensure the continued existence of the human species. However, as we have argued in an earlier post the fact that at some point in the (distant) future our species might become extinct, is not something we should worry about. In contrast, we should care about the well-being of the currently existing population, which includes the possible evacuation of humans to space colonies in case of a global catastrophe.

However, the supporters of Scott Adams’s theory that the continued existence of the human species is required for the reconstruction of God, could argue in favour of embryo space colonization. In this view there’s reason for the survival of our species, which is independent of our particular interests. Though we might wonder whether we have any duty to help with the reconstruction of God.

Another argument which could be raised by proponents of embryo space colonization, is that this project would stimulate scientific research in several fields. The subsequent spin-offs could be used for the benefit of the current population. Well, the second part of this reasoning, is on itself enough justification of investing in scientific research, even without the prospect of embryo space colonization.


13 thoughts on “Embryo space colonization”

  1. Does this imply activating, then growing humans when they arrive at the destination? How would they be educated? How would they understand their mission, or indeed, could they understand it?

    1. “Does this imply activating, then growing humans when they arrive at the destination?”

      Yes, it does.

      “How would they be educated?”

      Artificial Intelligence is the magical answer. But it’s a crucial point.

      “How would they understand their mission, or indeed, could they understand it?”

      I do not know, you should ask those who are in favour such missions.

      1. Ha, OK 🙂

        It’d be an interesting exercise, though: could a human being grown, free of any actual “teacher/authority” figures to guide them, emerge fully formed on the other end?

        1. If you could create an AI which can successfully substitute for real parents/teachers/etcetera, they could guide these young humans. However, if you can create such AIs you might wonder, why we should send the embryos, why not just the AIs?

            1. Unless, you’re a human/biological supremacist who believes humans has something “special” a fully developed AI cannot have, and that something is worth preservation.

              1. Only one thing about the interesting article you have shared: it “irritates” me that every time space colonization is discussed in the media, they talk about the galaxy or even the entire universe; never is there any mention that maybe we should start closer to home.

  2. Interesting and I agree with you that the spin-offs are just enough justification for funding scientific research.
    Great post. I also don’t think reconstructing god is our business and I have no problem with our species becoming extinct.

    1. “I also don’t think reconstructing god is our business”

      That’s what bothered me the most with “God’s debris”, Avatar speaks about the reconstruction of God, but no one actually asks why it would be bad if God wouldn’t be reconstructed.

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