• Question: If we found a planet with accessible resources, would we expand our resources and colonise or the planet or would we take the resources back to earth?

    Asked by EllisTheSnake to Steve, Emma, Christian, Bose, Alice on 17 Mar 2016.
    • Photo: Alice Harpole

      Alice Harpole answered on 17 Mar 2016:

      That depends a lot on how habitable the planet is, e.g. does it have an atmosphere high in Oxygen, does it have enough sunlight that we can grow crops there, does it have soil rich in nutrients that crops will grow in, does it have liquid water etc. If it is habitable, then I would expect we probably would colonise it. If not, we’d probably take the resources back to Earth. We think there could be a lot of resources on comets, and it’s possible that in the future we could mine them for minerals. However, you certainly would not want to live on one!

    • Photo: Steve Marsden

      Steve Marsden answered on 18 Mar 2016:

      It also depends on the gravity and the thickness of the atmosphere. If the planet is similar to Earth, the amount of energy needed to get the resources to orbit would probably mean that it’s not worth it.

      If the planet were similar to Mars, being smaller and having a thinner atmosphere, then it would be much easier to get the resources to space, and may well be worthwhile.