We, humanity, face the greatest challenges and opportunities we have ever faced. Mars is within reach, while on Earth our life-support system is under threat. Our actions today are more influential than we imagine in creating tomorrow. Proudly Human balances working towards the off-world settlements of the near future with uplifting communities already living in extreme environments on Earth. Join us in our vision for a future of which we can be proud, in harmony with each other and the environment, whatever planet we are on.
Proudly Human’s Off-World Project is a series of habitation experiments in the most extreme environments on Earth to prepare for life on the Moon, Mars and beyond. The projects will promote companies developing technology for sustainability, facilitate skills development, boost research, innovation and technology towards off-grid functionality, as well as provide a vision for young people of community spirit in even the harshest environments through grit, imagination, research and technology towards a #ProudlyHuman future, whatever planet we are on.
“From informal settlements, to overcrowded cities, to bases on the Moon, Mars and beyond, the basic requirements for community spirit remain the same: access to cheap, robust and efficient technologies to provide power, shelter, clean water, nutritious food and connectivity.” – Dr Adriana Marais, TEDx Luxembourg November 2019.
“Living on more than one planet is an essential aspect of becoming
a more advanced society.” – Dr Adriana Marais, Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting 2019
Teams all over the world are working towards achieving human settlement of the Moon and Mars in the coming years. SpaceX is building a transport system, the Starship, to take people and cargo to the Moon, Mars and beyond, and back, and in the meantime becoming the first private company to launch and return crew between the United States and International Space Station; China recently landed on the far side of the Moon demonstrating crop growth among other investigative activities; Japan’s asteroid mission has returned samples back to Earth – a milestone towards space mining; the United Arab Emirates plans to build a large-scale Mars Science City in the Emirati desert towards their goal of a city on Mars in 2117, Israel’s Beresheet became the first privately-funded mission to (crash) land on the Moon. And for the first time in human history there was traffic en route to Mars with US, China and UAE missions all launched to Mars in 2020.
We are in the midst of an era of rapid technological development, enabled by connectivity and data and characterised by new technological capabilities at the intersection of a range of fields. Space exploration has played a fundamental role in many of these. Studies show how the inspirational power of the Apollo era led to the commercialisation of the personal computer, the mobile phone and the internet late last century, particularly in the United States. On a practical level, two decades of human habitation of the International Space Station have led to impressive developments in solar technology, water filtration systems and LED lighting to grow food to name but a few. The ground-based and remote exploration of space has also led to massive progress in robotics, nanotechnology, automation, artificial intelligence, computing and big data. Space exploration including crewed missions to the Moon and Mars in the coming decades promise to further revolutionise our capabilities.
On the other hand, the industry enabling the massive growth in both our population and technological capability, is destabilising our planetary life-support system. Our profit-driven, consumerist culture recklessly plunders Earth’s resources, disrupting habitats, eradicating species and polluting our own supply of water, soil and air, at a rate at which the planet is no longer able to replenish. The result: climate change, unpredictable and extreme weather events, increased risk of pandemics, scarcity, inequality and conflict.
Many humans are already living in extreme conditions: 1 billion with no power; 1.6 billion inadequate shelter; 6.8 billion polluted air; 2.2 billion unsafe water; 1 billion undernourished; more than half of the world without access to basic health care services; and 3.7 billion without Internet access. This is the most urgent challenge we have ever faced, because access to reliable power, adequate shelter, clean water, nutritious food and healthcare are necessary for any human to acquire the skills to participate meaningfully in this technological era.
Curiosity-driven space exploration is something to be proud of, a celebration of our humanity and the reality in which we find ourselves. Yet the challenges we face on Earth including poverty and inequality, mean that not everyone is able to participate. The challenge is to balance ambitious goals that inspire us to dream, like the first human communities on the Moon and Mars, while simultaneously uplifting people living in harsh conditions here on Earth, and encouraging a rapidly growing population of youth to get excited about exploring and learning.
Proudly Human takes up the challenge by applying knowledge of how we will live off-world to improve standards of living for people on Earth. Towards community spirit in the extreme conditions on the Moon, Mars and beyond, as well as living in harmony with each other and the environment on Earth, we will demonstrate successful community living in some of the harshest environments on our planet. Proudly Human’s Off-World Project will promote companies developing technology for sustainability, facilitate skills development, boost research, innovation and technology towards off-grid functionality, as well as provide a vision for young people of achieving successful communities in extreme and resource-constrained environments through grit, imagination, science and technology towards a #ProudlyHuman future, whatever planet we are on.