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Exoplanet Habitability & Human Adaptation

An Ethical Treatise

Why Don’t We Just Go Find Out If We Can Live There? One of the challenges space explorers would face is determining the habitability of a planet. Signs of oxygen in the atmosphere don’t mean it is breathable. A breathable atmosphere is likely mitigated by a hostile biosphere or environmental conditions you don’t know about until you arrive.

The ethical problem is how to determine habitability without dooming the explorers. Yes, space explorers and potential colonists would probably be volunteers, assuming they’re all fully informed adults. However, they’d still be faced with the challenge of fully exploring a planet and mapping out the risks without losing so many of their number that they are doomed, they are now too few to survive while waiting for a follow-up ship or having lost their viability as a colony.