‘Planet B’ cannot justify space exploration, scientist says

Space Science

MYSTERY WIRE — Why should we spend billions of dollars exploring space? It’s more than a political question, as far as some scientists are concerned.

Anthropologist Kathryn Denning of York University in Canada says that some of the answers to this loaded question need to be re-examined.

Denning, interviewed by space.com and also quoted on astronaut.com, objects most to the idea that we need a “Planet B” when we have exhausted our own world.

The gist of her statements: If we don’t do a better job of solving our own world’s problems, we won’t have time to worry about colonizing a planet.

“For me, the question is balance,” Denning told space.com. “How can we be enthusiastic about the human capacity to explore while maintaining our focus on what needs to happen here on this planet?”

Recent research into exoplanets and the TESS program are merely about discovering those places. The idea that an independent civilization could be sustained is beyond the reach of science right now, Denney suggested. Any colony on another planet would be dependent on Earth for at least the next 100 years, she said.

“We’ve got worlds out there that we haven’t really messed up yet,” Denning said, wistfully pointing out that if we’re careful, we can keep them that way. “Wouldn’t it be nice?”

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