What is humanities’ future in space if any?
On another list, the question was raised about the future of humans in space and several movie versions were suggested. My thoughts on these follow. If anyone wants to argue, take offense or agree, please feel free to comment.
I think the Star Trek vision is still too Earth bound, too reflective of our own forms and biases. The aliens in Star Trek, Whatever Generation are simply reflections of ourselves. They are not aliens. The Vulcans are simply the logical and rational sides of ourselves; the Klingons are our greedy and rapacious side, while all of the other aliens are simply character actors in morality plays. It is a great series, but it is not particularly visionary.
Star Wars tries to be big, but ends up being small. It is Shogun in space. Jedi-Samurai, endless intrigues with double and triple crosses, good guys become bad guys become good guys and so on. It is great fun but visionary about human space flight it is not.
Zardoz is a total downer. This is science fiction at its worst. It is The Sun Also Rises without the happy ending.
I see human space flight, exploration and colonization as the dawn of a new age. Those who go will be optimists. The kind of people who looked at the New World as an opportunity to be grasped rather than a mystery to be feared. We will take all of our faults and foibles with us, of course, but the tip of the spear will be sharp and we will embark on a great adventure. Those new folks, the lunar and Mars colonists, the ones born and raised there, will see the universe through different eyes. Where we see limits, they will see opportunities. I am quite optimistic. The only movie I can think of that captures this spirit isn’t science fiction at all, it is Centennial, a mini-series about the settling of a town in Colorado that begins with the Native Americans who settled there first, to the trappers and mountain men, the cattlemen, farmers and follows through to the present day. That is our future in colonizing the solar system.