As you can tell, space has been much on my mind over the past few days during the holidays, and today is no different, as it has been announced that a private initiative, the Mars One Foundation, plans to launch the first privately owned interplanetary space probe to the planet Mars by 2018:
But there's a catch, and I hope you caught it:
"The non-profit Mars One foundation has inked deals with Lockheed Martin Space Systems and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL) to draw up mission concept studies for the private robotic flight to Mars. Under the plan, Lockheed Martin will build the Mars One lander, and SSTL will build a communications satellite, the companies' representatives announced at a news conference here today."
As most of you who are regular readers here already know, I have been blogging that the future trend in space is toward greater commercialization and more such private ventures, bypassing the direct approval of any government for its accomplishment, a process that I have already suggested will inevitably involve the militarization of space, perhaps under the auspices of private corporate "space fleets." The participation of Lockheed Martin in this enterprise is therefore significant, for as most people are aware, Lockheed-Martin is a major US defense contractor, and not coincidentally, the home of Ben Rich, former head of Lockheed's skunk works, whose curious end-of-life statements have become a staple in the alternative research community: "We now have the ability to take ET home."
The Mars One group, as noted in the article, has even grander objectives in mind: the private colonization of Mars. And again, we may reasonably expect contractors like Lockheed will be intimately involved. The precedent is there in history, for we need to recall that, at least in North America and the East Indies, the model relied private corporate settlement and development under government mercantilist policies and charters. We are watching a similar phenomenon unfold... the ships of the line and Hessian troops came shortly thereafter. Now for the high octane speculation: regardless of what happens on Earth, it may be space that inevitably drives the formation of more integrated global governance and financial structures, since inevitably the actions of corporations in space will become heavy-handed, with the inevitable reaction and calls for "regulation." And part of me suspects that this process has been underway for sometime... we are only just now really learning about it.
And that, too, has its precedents in human history, as the public "age of discovery" and exploitation of the New World lagged almost two centuries if not more behind the actual secret and suppressed knowledge of the new world.
See you on the flip side.