|Keeping The Faith... In Space|
|Written by Jeff Krukin|
|Thursday, 13 December 2007|
Discussions about space travel and settlement typically involve matters of science and engineering. However, these are merely enablers that will lead to an increasingly greater number of humans living in orbit, on the Moon, on large asteroids, on Mars, and ultimately throughout the solar system. Where people go, so goes their faith, their spiritual sense, their need for religion... and for some, none of this whatsoever.
Watching the fixation on faith that has become embedded within the Presidential debates and campaigns, I found myself pondering how space travelers and settlers would handle the practical elements of their faiths.
It's very likely that sometime next decade the first non-government, non-astronaut space dwellers will be spending a few days or a week in orbit aboard a Bigelow Aerospace commercially-owned-and-operated habitat. Whether it's a corporate lab, a university campus, or a hotel, its inhabitants will likely have more time to spend on personal matters than do the astronauts living on the International Space Station (although I'm certainly not excluding them from this discussion). Further into the future, humans will be living on, not just visiting, the Moon, asteroids, Mars, and more.
How will one handle the practical matters of one's faith, such as:
As more humans travel in and eventually live in space, it will become necessary to deal with these matters... and more fundamental issues. Some will find no reason to question or alter their beliefs, so their challenges will be of the practical nature described above. Others will find their faith turned upside down (imagine that happening in a place with no "up" or "down") because they won't be able to adapt a faith developed and nurtured on Earth to the experience of living in space.
Solving the technical challenges of space exploration, development and settlement may be daunting, but that's just the beginning of what awaits us.
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