/ Experts


Populating Beyond the Earth: Problems and Prospects for Expanding into Space

Sergey Krichevsky's speech at the GF2045 Congress

Sergey Krichevsky, аstronaut, professor of Russian Academy of Public Administration under the President of Russia:

“...We have a window of opportunity now for preparations and to start the mass extraterrestrial colonization of people, which we can and must use for the survival, safety and development of mankind. Perhaps in 20, 30 or 50 years, this window will close, it may slam shut and we will have run out of time”. 

Dear colleagues, I am very happy to be here, and my friend and colleague Sergei Zhukov talked about space, and the previous speaker discussed the swift progress and process. Nevertheless, it seems to me that we can take a critical look at reality and our prospects when we are discussing space activities. I am forced to talk about this with regret, but it cannot be ignored. What do I mean? Of course, there are grandiose plans, the potential of the technologies is colossal, but we are stuck on Earth. If we are discussing space expansion, if we say that we were called on to explore space, and what the ideas and prospects were, then unfortunately, for the 50 years that people have been travelling into space, starting with Gagarin’s flight, we have not got very far. Let us remember Yury Alexeevich Gagarin, on the 12th April 1961, the first flight into space by a human being, this was the start of the process of people travelling into space and extraterrestrial colonization. Everyone must go into space! This was a slogan at a spontaneous rally held on Red Square. And now, when we talk about the history of our people, even though the USSR has ceased to exist, we remember two events of last century – the victory in the Great Patriotic War and Gagarin’s flight, and this is quite correct. 

What happened after this? We must consider the results of the space flights made by human beings, provide a new stimulus to the process of space expansion, in my opinion, and a practical scientific solution to the problem of colonization, which as paradoxical as it may sound, seems to many people in the early 21st century to be no less Utopian than it did in the early 20th century, when this idea was proposed by Tsiolkovsky, and he was considered to be the town lunatic in Kaluga. And this was 100 years ago. In fact, people continue to consider some cosmonauts to be madmen, who do not aspire to business or banks, but to space, and this is also a paradox of our times. 

So the question remains – was Tsiolkovsky wrong, or ahead of his time? Is the extraterrestrial colonization of mankind a Utopia, a delusion, a false start, certain doom, the path to degradation? Or is it the hope and the chance for survival, development, for eternal life – immortality? Is it a chance solely for the super-rich and the super-elite? Especially for space tourists, who can pay for a trip and fly into space, while the rest watch them and think, why, why? Is it a way of creating the person of the future – the post-person? Is it the ultimate priority of manned space exploration, or is it a dead-end? And all of these questions today, here and now, in this place, remain unsolved. I think that they need to be asked, and solved seriously. 

In fact, when we talk of life in orbit, we should remember that in the USSR, many cosmonauts of the first division, after the flight by Gagarin and Titov in 1961, objected to a fast increase in space flights. You can read about this in the diaries of Kamanin, they have been published for everyone to read, where he says that one cosmonaut flew around the Earth once, another flew for a whole day, and now we are going to fly for weeks and months, the first cosmonauts said. They did not intend to take up permanent residence away from the Earth. This is paradoxical, but this is how it was. In 50 years, over 500 people have been in space. Around 1000 people on the entire earth underwent training and were in various stages of readiness. Half of them didn’t go into space, including Sergei Zhukov, and I didn’t go into space, although we trained to do so, and we could do so now, although there are some temporary difficulties. The maximum duration of a space flight, was when one person was in space without interruption for 437 days – this was Valery Polyakov on the Mir space station, in the Soyuz space ship. This was back in the last century, in the attempt to develop technologies and long flights, so people could fly to Mars and return. The total individual duration of a person’s time in space, over several flights, three, four, five, six, came to around 800 days for some record-holders – Sergei Avdeev, Alexander Kaleri and Sergei Krikalev. At present, six people live permanently at the International Space Station. Do you know, today, last night or during the day, our Russian cosmonauts went into open space and worked for six hours, and so on. 

In other words, the process is continuing, and people are living in space. But this, I’m sorry, is not at all what you think. And neither the Russian space administration or NASA, i.e. the space agencies, support space expansion, and people colonizing space. There is no strategy or plan for colonization, as opposed to simply flying around Earth, landing on the Moon or Mars, breaking records and putting up flags. Unfortunately, I must make this fact clear. Our agencies and space officials are respected people, there are many professionals, but alas, they are fixated on three things – orbiting the Earth, the Moon and Mars. 

The problem is not in these things themselves, but that this process needs to be begun seriously as a strategy which has prospects, and without which humanity will probably not survive. However dear the Earth may be to us, alas, it seems that one day we will have to leave it behind. We will strive to preserve it, as our home, but nevertheless, we understand that in natural cycles, perhaps in thousands or millions of years, something may happen. 

At present, only a handful of enthusiasts, writers and scientists advocate real expansion of space. I would say that Steven Hawking, as a person with health problems and so on, is the most impressive and specific speaker on this topic. He calls on us to explore space and talks of space colonization in the 21st century. But there are no politicians or healthy cosmonauts, or any else among the multitudes of people, who could and would like to realize this in practice, this is the paradox we face. And only small groups propose this process. And when we compare it with what is happening on Earth, alas, there is no cause for enthusiasm. To this day, mankind, the international community, the UN, lack a strategy, a program of space expansion. The projects and programs that we have, 50 years since the first person travelled into space, have shrunk, have become bogged down in minor details and strange decisions. 

Furthermore, some are calling for people to abandon space and return to Earth. For example, in October last year, this was the topic of a paper delivered by the renowned astronomer Vladimir Surgin from the Moscow State University. And unfortunately, so far in public awareness and official space programs and projects, the paradigm of manned flights predominates, interplanetary flights, but only as a technology for moving in space. Even today we understand that there is a big different between living on Earth, sometimes blasting off, flying away on a mission and returning, and when you leave the Earth to take up permanent residence in the new colony. And perhaps sometimes you’ll be lucky enough to fly to Earth for a holiday, but you will live and die in the colony. In other words, the paradigm changes completely, and unfortunately, we are not yet ready for this. 

Nevertheless, at present, in my opinion, there are three real directions, three groups of people who aspire beyond the boundaries of the Earth. Obviously, one groups is professional cosmonauts, among whom I would include Sergei Zhukov, myself, and many others who have trained and are prepared, who have flown or will fly into space. There are space tourists, which is the most swiftly-growing group of space travelers, or people who can afford this in future. Hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of short space flights have already been sold. I say this with irony, you probably understand what I mean. And in my opinion, the most promising group is the cosmonaut colonists, those who leave the Earth permanently, to live away from the Earth until the end of their lives, or to live forever, if we can create humans in another mold, and extend our lives using new technologies. 

What are the possibilities, what are the risks, what restrictions exist in the colonization process? The first is that the realization of the colonization process is conditioned by the socio-political, ecological and economic situation on the Earth, and its development. In other words, to put it bluntly, we need peace on Earth. This is obvious, because the problems that exist on Earth frequently do not allow us to look to the sky, to the stars, let alone move towards them. If we are capable, we, the human race, of coming to an agreement on Earth and solving our earthly problems, then we have the chance of travelling beyond the boundaries of Earth, gradually, but energetically and strategically. 

With the general growth in the world’s population, which is currently 7 billon, the growth rates are falling, by the middle of the century it will be 9 billion, and at the end of the century stabilization is expected. These models exist, and we should note that the motive and the stratagem are changing. For when Tsiolkovsky was alive, and when the space flights were made in the last century, colonization was seen as a panacea to resettle the excessive population of the Earth, thus preserving a certain balance and so on. 


This problem does not exist today, we have a different problem. Today we have a severe need for effective technology, and there is no public agreement, political will or resources for mass extraterrestrial colonization. And the most complex problem in this context is that we realize that there will be a drop in the population, and that there is essentially we do not need to flee the Earth, and so we ask ourselves why we should bother to address this issue. But still, if we do not work on this process now, the moment may come when natural catastrophes, on earth, in space, and many other processes, will simply bring us to the verge of extinction, and also, we will have missed our opportunity. 

The most complex problem is the problem of the physical and social survival of the person in extraterrestrial conditions, in the dangerous conditions of the environment of space, i.e. the problem of the “person of the future”, the “cosmic person”. If we decided to go into space according to this strategy, then what are the current predictions and scenarios? They are essentially common knowledge – concentrated mass colonization involves the creation of permanent bases and settlements on the celestial bodies of the Solar System. Above all, on the Moon, with a permanent colony, starting from the ‘30s of this century. And also creating bases and colonies on Mars, perhaps in the mid-21st century, with the subsequent colonization of Mars, as a reserve planet. You are probably aware of the project by the Chinese, who want to settle a thousand people there, and in case of cataclysms on Earth, this reserve potential of the Chinese people will be used to settle the Earth again, if it suddenly becomes uninhabited. Then the Earth will be completely Chinese. It almost sounds like a joke, but this is a real project, which has been published and is widely known. 

If we’re talking about prospects, then the structure of colonization in the 21st-22nd centuries is a complex mega-network, which encompasses all levels of space and options of infrastructure, from space training on the moon, in the libration points “Earth-Moon”, “Sun-Moon”, orbit around the sun, Mars, and then everywhere else. I would ask you to examine the space agenda in this context – if we are able to break away from the Earth, from the burden of our problems, if we can come to an agreement here, including within this congress, then this form of thinking, this assemblage point will work, to use Castenada’s term. So there are three issues:

1. Space expansion – the extraterrestrial colonization of mankind, the formation of the “cosmic person” and “cosmic mankind.” This needs to be worked on intensively, and we should not simply wait for it to happen

2. The interaction of the earthly and cosmic person, earthly and cosmic mankind for stable socio-natural development on Earth and in space

3. The possibilities, limitations and prospects of the evolution of the earthly person into a “cosmic person” and “universal person”, capable of living on Earth and not on Earth, and also mankind’s transition to new extraterrestrial social structures.

What do we require for this, and what do we lack, in my opinion? It is clear that we must understand this problem, and most importantly, it is necessary from a practical standpoint to have public agreement and political will to start the process of the extraterrestrial colonization of mankind under the aegis of the UN. Secondly, we need adequate rules of play, international and national legislation. Thirdly, we need the considerable resources, material and other, to carry out space expansion. The question is who will provide these resources. And fourthly, we need fundamentally new technologies: 

- transport

- to look after and extend the lives of people living permanently in extraterrestrial colonies (including for the creation of the “future”, “cosmic”, “universal” and “eternal” person)

- infrastructural

- ecological 

- social and others.

Developments and projects exist. I can say that my project to bring people together who are enthusiastic about extraterrestrial colonization, the project “Space Volunteer”, and the creation of an association which would contain the seed for the future cosmic person, was published back in 1993. This was practically 20 years, but alas, we have not made any progress since then.

The most complex problem, of course, is that in colonization, survival of the person in a humanitarian paradigm must be ensured, i.e. the person must become a “cosmic person”, and remain themselves. This is probably the most difficult thing. Because when we hear about “Avatars” today, about the transfer of consciousness, we ask what the possibilities will be, what percentage of our consciousness will be transferred, what will be removed, what remains etc., and we worry about how we are going to stay as people. And here, of course, a very difficult moment arises, a difficult question about how to approach this. Because here, we not only need to reach an agreement, we need a complex series of events, including a value approach, and also an ethical, humanitarian and moral approach. There should be involvement from society, thinkers, our intellectuals, and not just technical specialists and engineers, who will provide us with new vehicles and capsules. There are very serious ethical, legal and other humanitarian problems here. Finally, it is vital that as we move into space, we preserve a unity of terrestrial and extraterrestrial mankind, i.e. the entire neo-mankind, and ensure safety and development in balance with the environment of the Earth and space.

I will speak in theses, as I only have 4 minutes left, but nevertheless, we are going to create new life. I.e., the most complex problem is the reproduction of mankind in space in the full life cycle, the safety of people’s development as living beings, providing a worthy and full life, including a solution of bio-ethical, medico-biological, gender and other issues. Family, sexual and other issues are all grouped together here. And without solving this problem, the real mass extraterrestrial colonization of the terrestrial person is impossible. I would say that there are of course a mass of other problems connected with all of this, we need only remember the first cosmonaut. One story has it that Gagarin once said, I don’t understand whether I am the last dog in space or the first person. Because before his flight, dogs had been sent into space. But now the question may be posed differently – is the modern-day cosmonaut that last person in space or the first post-person, the first bio-robot, cyborg etc. We are already reaching this point, and the issue is that in this body, despite all the efforts of medicine, there are many risks, radiation and so on, which are as yet insurmountable. And we cannot exist away from the Earth, in this hostile environment, without solving these issues.

There are many different scenarios for the path that we may take, but nevertheless, one of the options is of course the technological one. I would like to direct your attention to one thing. There was a science fiction story published way back last century, when mankind became cosmic, when the first child was born in space. And we haven’t made any progress whatsoever on this path, as you understand what it means to give birth to a person in this environment. In the best case scenario, it will be a freak. And in fact this problem is insurmountable at present. How can this problem be solved? Either mature, adult people should fly into space, and we will never be able to provide for human reproduction in space, for the natural or cosmic person, by natural means, and we will have to resort constantly to certain technologies. Or we will be able to overcome this, and in the process of development, certain capabilities of a living person will be revealed, who will be able to live and reproduce in space, in this environment. But what must we do for this? To recreate terrestrial conditions in their entirety? Create a new environment?

One temporary solution, in my opinion, is to create a “cosmic person”, and start doing so on Earth, within the “future person” project, as part of the “Russia 2045” Initiative. For example, to create biorobots, technological doubles of real cosmonauts. Not the robots who are created to be our assistants, but robots you can work in pairs with, a technological clone. This pair should evolve and act together, and initially the cosmonaut’s “double” will be sent into the dangerous real conditions of space for a lengthy period, while preserving interaction in the pair, information interaction and so on. And gradually, the “double” should imbue and absorb the qualities of the other person, and turn into a more complete copy of this person, including the consciousness, personality traits etc. This is one possible solution at present.

In my opinion, this is the time and the place to pose this problem, although I realize that even in this hall it may seem far-fetched. Especially if we look at what is happening in the real world at present. But nevertheless, we have a window of opportunity now for preparations and to start the mass extraterrestrial colonization of people, which we can and must use for the survival, safety and development of mankind. Perhaps in 20, 30 or 50 years, this window will close, it may slam shut and we will have run out of time. And we may become stuck here and suffocate on Earth. At the moment, this illusion, this possibility exists. And so I propose that our congress come forward with the initiative of space expansion, extraterrestrial colonization, and appeal to the community, to society, politicians, businessmen, scientists etc, to raise this problem. This does not mean that we are all about to flee into space. It means that this strategy should be passed at a political, scientific level, at public level, so that we can begin this concentrated movement. Not a race with flags and records, not photos and PR, but a slow, gradual, and focused process.

There is literature on this topic, if anyone is interested, and my ideas and texts can be read in more detail in the book “Aero-cosmic activity. An interdisciplinary analysis.” It was published quite recently and can be found in bookshops, for example “Biblio-Globus” on Myasnitskaya Street.

In conclusion, I would like to say that we have the chance to make progress on this path. But you can see what our dreams are, and what the realities are, alas. But I believe that we can and must bring this idea, this problem, into the practical sphere. Thank you for your attention, understanding and support. Thank you.

Source: http://gf2045.com/read/123/

Sergei V.
Doctor of philosophy, professor

One temporary solution, in my opinion, is to create a “cosmic person”, and start doing so on Earth, within the “future person” project, as part of the “Russia 2045” Initiative.

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