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Babies In Space: The Challenges Of Colonizing Other Planets

By Steve Goldstein
Published: Tuesday, June 15, 2021 - 11:43am

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photo of mars landscape
NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
A photo from Mars Curiosity rover taken in January 2018.

Another space race is in full swing as private space travel firms are competing with Russia, China and the United States to push the envelopes of exploration on Mars and the moon.

China and Russia are participating in a joint program to establish a permanent base on the moon within 25 years, and Elon Musk’s Space X has proposed building a colony on Mars by 2050.

Many of these plans involve long-term travel and permanent colonization, and the sustainability of a human presence in space will eventually result in a need to procreate. But doing this in space poses many challenges — politically, ethically and medically. And being born somewhere other than Earth raises citizenship questions, too.

University of Arizona astronomy professor Chris Impey recently wrote a piece for the Conversation about how soon we may see a baby born in space. The Show spoke with him to learn about the logistics and challenges of populating the galaxy.

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