Billionaires such as Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos dream of making Mars more like Earth, or seeing millions of people living and working in space — but could such dreams ever be turned into reality?
In a new novel titled “The Terraformers,” science writer Annalee Newitz imagines that tens of thousands of years from now, future billionaires (who are likely to be quintillionaires by then) will figure out exactly how to tailor planets to their customers’ liking. Which wouldn’t necessarily be a good thing.
“There’s a lot of hand-wavy technologies that we would’ve had to have invented,” Newitz admits in the latest episode of the Fiction Science podcast. “You know, I do think it’s realistic that humans are going to eventually try to set up shop off Earth in some way. … So I think for me, the question is: terraforming in the name of what, and under the auspices of what organizations.”