Colonising space sounds like a mighty fine time. Like, who doesn't want to live on Mars, a big red rock that can't naturally support human life? But when our little crew of motley space colonists arrive on humanity's second planet, will terraforming go as well as we hope?
According to Edinburgh University astrology professor Charles Cockell: absolutely not. In fact, he believes that space colonists are going to get a taste. A taste for what? Well, for human flesh, of course!
Dinosaurs didn't have a space program
As climate change continues to alter our environment for the worse, many have expressed that humanity needs to become an “interplanetary species”. Speaking to Metro, Cockell compared the climate crisis to the meteor strike that wiped out the dinosaurs.
Cockell explained that humanity could spread our across multiple planets and moons as an “insurance policy”. In comparison to dinosaurs, he jokes that their failure was not developing “a space program”.
On the other hand, Earth still needs to be hospitable long enough for humanity to venture outwards. He explained that waiting for Earth to get “catastrophically bad” will only result in terrible colonies on other planets.
“The systems have to be really reliable and that’s why they need to be tested before,” Cockell told the outlet.
Space colonists may do a tiny bit of cannibalism
Cockell explained that creating colonies is not going to be easy. In fact, humanity will have to deal with a little bit of cannibalism. Not as a treat, but just to get by. The astrophysicist based this theory on historical events.
“That’s based on historical situations,” Cockell said. “Franklin’s crew tried to find the north-west passage on ships in the late 19th century – they were the most sophisticated pieces of technology available at that time.”
He explained that the 1845 Artic exploration was equipped with many of the same modern conveniences we have today. For example, tinned food — a great way of prolonging the use of foodstuffs — wasn't much help to the cursed explorers.
“They were the most sophisticated pieces of technology available at that time,” he said. “Yet, they got lost, stranded and they ended up degenerating into cannibalism... If you put a group of people on Callisto, things start going wrong and the plant growth module breaks down, they are going to eat each other if there is no other way to survive.”
How to avoid it
Obviously, we're not pro-cannibalism at Stealth Optional. Presumably, neither is Professor Charles Cockell. However, Cockell’s horrifying statements are more a warning for the future, and a wake-up call for space tech developers.
Cockell’s statements mean that testing of food equipment needs to start now. He concluded: If you are going to dump 20 people several hundred million kilometers away from the Earth in an instantaneously lethal environment on a moon, you better be sure that is going to work because if it doesn’t it is going to fall apart quite quickly.”