Are we trapped on planet Earth?

Until recently, no one gave any thought to what things would be like off-planet.  For one thing, the concept of off-planet is still pretty new, and it is so far from our everyday experience that most people are unable to imagine it.  We tend to think of anywhere at all as being like Earth, because Earth is all that we know.

Earth may be all that we know, but, unfortunately, Earth is not all that there is, unending, limitless.  Most of the place that we live, called the Cosmos, is empty space, totally opposite to what we think of as normal.  No one is exactly sure just how many solar systems there are, because we still cannot see that well far away.  But we do know one thing;  This solar system is ours to play with.  We don’t have to worry about the Martians complaining that we are mining the Earth’s moon too fast, nor do we have to avoid upsetting the folks from Jupiter.

We are alone here, in this tiny little island of dust drifting amidst the inifinite emptiness.  This is a good thing, because we will have to use all of the resources that we can find here to protect our home.  In all that we can see, even with the most powerful telescopes, there is no where besides Earth that we know of where people can walk unprotected under the open sky.  If we trash our spaceship, we will not be able to hitch a ride with anyone else.

But everything that we could conceivably need is right here in our solar system, just waiting to be picked up.  Energy practically beyond measure is ours courtesy of the Sun.  Raw materials and energy are the basic requirements of a civilisation.  What will we do with the opportunity that we have?  Will we create a better, more sustainable society, using goods manufactured off-planet?  Or, will we turn our backs on those riches above our heads, and go on grubbing in the dirt?cec

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