What's the Latest Development?
A working list of conditions that must be met before humans can begin settling in space has been drawn up by the Space Studies Institute, a non-profit that advocates opening up the resources in space for human benefit. The institute's new president, Gary Hudson, has unveiled The Great Enterprise Initiative which is "designed to outline the technologies and other capabilities needed to enable the long-term goal of space settlement, and to host multiple projects in relevant areas." The institute's former president was Freeman Dyson.
What's the Big Idea?
The key areas of interest to the initiative, and therefore to settling in space, are transportation, resources, environment, society and economy. One area of immediate attention is gravity: "We cannot answer the question of whether, in a permanent off-planet settlement, can a human female give birth to a child, can that child grow up, can it return to Earth, can it have children of its own," Hudson said. "We simply have no idea. If we cannot do that, we cannot settle space." The institute is set to begin researching the effects of partial gravity on humans, such as we would experience on Mars.