Like the voyages of Christopher Columbus, commercial projects can drive the future exploration of space.
Question: Are we going to colonize outer space?
Esther Dyson: I think it is sort of like going to America back in the 1400s its totally crazy but I think it will happen and if you recall those first trips to America where commercial voyages, people are looking for golden Indian stuff like golden spices perhaps one of the big commercial drivers is going to be all the minerals in the asteroids and whether its Christopher Columbus where the internet all these things they are driven commercially and then have a huge impact way beyond with that original commercial enter this was.
Question: Do you see us living in outer space?
Esther Dyson: All I think will turn outer space into inner space, but yeah we are probably going to well there is a reasonable argument that we are going to create a clean useful life supporting atmosphere on mars, soon at them we will honors because a mars we have no politics and we have no incumbent establishment, so its easier to experiment they are in get it right on earth, the moment you start changing things around you ran into people who like it better the way it was what have you.
Question: What is the timeline for that? What would it take to get it started?
Esther Dyson: Probably this century we will take 30 or 40 years to telephone wires. Get a couple of doing in here is fund it because a government one and then its going to end up being more biology then it we are not going to put giant air blowers on mars, what we need to do is genetically engineered plans of various kinds that will take the minerals on mars and take the oxygen out of the compounds the oxidized compounds and stick it in the atmosphere and figure out what level of different kinds of gases you need to make it breathable to humans and to have the right light sensitivity that you will capture the right amount of solar energy to make that temperature habitable and so forth.
Recorded on: 03/21/2008