An essay: There’s no planet B, making the case that making another planet like Mars fit humanity is going to be so impossibly hard that it’s not going to happen, and by extension that the bulk of our energies should be focused on planet A, the one we’re already living on.

I’m reminded of Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, in which he makes an effort to keep the movie relatively grounded, famously bringing on physicists as consultants, and even using contemporary shuttles and rockets in some parts. But even this “grounded” movie necessitates the sudden appearance of a nearby wormhole, and the invention of anti-gravity technology for the plot to work.

As cool as SpaceX is, it’s not even one percent of one percent of what humanity needs to colonize another planet, and appears to be right up against the envelope in terms of scale we’re able to tackle. Planet B isn’t happening, but its hope is the policy equivalent of deus ex machina, letting us rationalize current direction under the premise of a nebulous future savior.

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