Do Humans Have An Off-World Future?

Inside an O'Neill cylinder - life amongst the stars, circa 1970 (NASA)

Optimistic visions of a human future in space seem to have given way to a confusing mix of possibilities, maybes, ifs, and buts. It’s not just the fault of governments and space agencies, basic physics is in part the culprit. Hoisting mass away from Earth is tremendously difficult, and thus far in fifty years we’ve barely managed a total the equivalent of a large oil-tanker. But there’s hope. “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future…” — Neils

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