The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
6 Points

Should space be colonized?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/9/2015 Category: Science
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 463 times Debate No: 68048
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (1)




Human beings, as of right now, are the pinnacle of the evolutionary development of life. Our intelligence has placed us at the top of the food chain on a global scale, has allowed us to conquer the elements, and has extended our lives and our health to unprecedented levels. Our domain on this planet, however, is a rather unfortunate shortcoming in the grand scheme of the universe. We have all of our eggs in one basket. Climate change, a chance meteor impact, or a natural disaster of appropriate proportion could render billions of years of evolution useless. Not to mention the inevitable expansion of our sun. As a species capable of recognizing our own existence, we must do everything in our power to continue the life that has arisen on Earth. It is our duty to continue the genetics of our species. The best way to this is to colonize other planets and moons in our Solar System. Eventually, we should expand our scope to colonization on a galactic scale.


There are three simple questions I'd want answered before trying to permanently slip the surly bonds of earth:
Is this goal technically feasible? Are there compelling benefits to go? How much is it going to cost? The reality is none of these questions can be satisfactorily answered.

Can it be done? We are tethered to our solar system by the speed of light. Any ship we sent today would take more time to reach another solar system than has passed between now and the dawn of civilization.

How much would it cost? Consider that the Apollo program cost more than it would take to end world hunger for over 15 years! Our money could be better spent.

Are the benefits real? Existential threats to humanity tend to be either overstated, or so far off as to be moot. One day, all the stars in the galaxy will flicker out, and no amount of running will save us. We are likely to transcend more immediate threats by technology in a few generations.
Debate Round No. 1


Colonizing space can most certainly be done despite the speed of light. I agree that the light barrier does prevent boundaries to space travel that may never be overcome. There are many options, however, that circumnavigate this barrier. One method is embryonic cryopreservation. Embryonic cryopreservation is the preserving of human embryos through freezing. If this technology reaches its full potential, embryos could be potentially stored for the lengths of time required for a sub-light speed spacecraft.

In terms of the cost, comparing a colonization mission to the Apollo mission is a faulty analogy. Landing on the moon was just a "look what we can do" event. Colonizing space is more like the colonization of North America. Sure, it was risky and questionable in the beginning, but a force that shapes the entire world arose from the mission to America. This is one of the many benefits that would outweigh the costs of colonizing space. Others include mining and research.


The technological hurtles are daunting if not impossible. Imagine building a car that must last longer than recorded history, travels farther than every mile ever driven by every car, survives radiation in a reactor, and drops off your unborn in Antarctica. That is just the start.

Costs are paramount. In 1965, Apollo reached 5% GDP[1], nearly passing health care spending[2]. For that investment, we gave 12 men each a 3 day trip to the moon. Some might say that is a immoral misuse of money, given our needs. It would be pennies next to colonization.

The benefits of space are great, but don't require man. Robust exploration and resource exploitation programs can be automated. The man will always be the expensive part[3].

If space colonies are feasible, they'll be unnecessary. And if technological innovation won't save the planet, it also won't let us escape[4].

Debate Round No. 2


debaterTater123 forfeited this round.


Imagine every tax dollar paid by you, your children, and your children's children being put in a project to send a handful of people away forever to the stars. Their chances of making it are slim. You will never hear from them again, even if they make it hundreds of thousands of years from now. There they would find an environment more inhospitable than anything we could transform this world into. Now think of the roads not being built, your children not going to school, people not being fed... all the things that money should have been doing instead.

Then you ask, why are we going there? Are we facing an existential threat that can not be solved by technology more easily than colonization? No. Can we not explore the universe with robots, and have them bring us back the bounty of space more efficiently? Yes.

Our true future will be within, when we reach transcendence through the technological singularity in a few generations.

Consequently, space colonization is not necessary.
Debate Round No. 3
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Zarroette 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro's arguments were alright, albeit lacking in reason as to why space be colonised, rather than whether it could be done. The debate quickly dissolved into whether it can be done, rather than whether it should be done. However, this seemed to do a full circle and come around back to the resolution. Particularly with Con's uncontested 2nd round arguments, the cost factor is obviously a massive burden. Con's final point although very brief, was pretty damn brutal. Due to these two arguments, I give Con arguments. Con wins sources, too, because they were integral to the winning arguments. Conduct wins conduct for Pro's round forfeit.