March 10, 2016 Zimmerman/Batchelor podcast

Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

Embedded below the fold. I would dub this podcast an updated summary of what I in 2005 called the new colonial movement.

We are at the dawn of a new colonial age. The growing space competition between nations is in many ways very reminiscent of the 19th century competition between the European powers to colonize Africa and the South Pacific. In the 1800s, Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom aggressively competed to carve up the undeveloped world. The result was foreign-run colonies controlling most of the Third World, for both good and ill, for almost a century.

Today, a new list of nations – India, China, Japan, Russia, Europe and the United States — are throwing their resources at space exploration in much the same way. Their goal, unstated but indisputable, is similar to the colonial powers of the 19th century: to obtain future domination over unclaimed territories in space.

This quest will, like the previous colonial efforts, be a long, complex and difficult historical process. Just as the colonial movement dominated much of 19th century politics and history, the growing desire by nations today to settle and control the solar system is also likely to dominate human history for centuries to come. The significant difference, however, is there are no aborigine peoples in space. The colonization of the solar system offers the hope of oppressing no one while bringing benefits to everyone who does it.



  • Wayne

    Mr. Z:

    That, is beautiful!

  • J Fincannon

    “The significant difference, however, is there are no aborigine peoples in space. ”

    Yes, but there may be life forms out there, even if lowly one celled ones. Hopefully, care will be taken prior to the mad rush to colonize.

  • Steve Earle

    The sad part of all this is the lost opportunity the USA had starting in the 70’s and 80’s. If we had stayed on course, we would already have had some sort of moonbase, and several deep space missions, and possibly to Mars by now.

    Instead of extending our “Manifest Destiny”, we chose to stare at our collective belly buttons, cancel the follow-on Apollo Missions, never realize the potential (and the use for which it was named) of the Space Shuttle, and use the money “saved” to solve poverty and the homeless problem here on Earth.

    How did that work out for us?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *