With the rapid development of science and technology, humankind has begun to take the step of exploration into space. Recently, Space Elevator, a cutting-edge planet-to-space transportation system has been introduced. The concept of it is that a very long cable is fixed on the earth and then extended to space. This will allow vehicles, material even people to directly travel into space. However, the construction of space elevators is quite controversial. Whether it promotes human progress and aerospace development with a lower cost and energy, or the space elevator is just a waste of existing resources and an unreliable development creates a debate.
Everybody’s gone to the rapture
The building of space elevator would be the milestone for
the change of future space technology and perception of human to space. First
of all, nowadays, training a qualified astronaut will be a costly investment,
and only specially trained astronauts have the opportunity to board space. But
this situation is totally contrary to the equality that is stated in Kantian
Theory. Because the duty ethic states that we have to treat people
equally, which means the respect and concern given to each person should be
same. The biggest obstacle to achieve this equality is the cost of aerospace
technology. As we know, the space rockets are very expensive, it costs almost
10,000 dollars to send a pound load into low-Earth orbit, and the price would
be ten times higher if the aim is sending a person to another planet. However,
with a space elevator, the cost will be cut to about 10 dollars, which is far
cheaper to send people into space and without any risks of life. That is to
say, space elevator provides more opportunities of space exploration to normal
people, therefore, the construction of space elevators is in line with Kant’s
principle, so this programme should be promoted.
In addition, another important motivation for building space elevator is learning and sharing, which can be considered as a virtue. Therefore, exploration and sharing of knowledge obey the virtue ethics. Furthermore, the exploration of space can be upgraded to a new level by space elevator, because space elevators can significantly reduce the cost of space experiments and exploration. The space elevator is also a large-scale project which there will be many countries involved, and therefore knowledge will be better shared.
Utilitarianism states if an action can create maximum happiness, that action will be considered as a right action. The space elevator can be a great platform for developing space mining, migrating, and industry which is sustainable. The space elevator will provide human with the resource and living space, which is the basic demands of human, definitely raising satisfaction of human for a long time. Other than that, another crucial benefit from building space elevator is creating job opportunities. At the earlier stage of the construction, the plenty of workloads and human resources are required to ensure that sufficient material are made for elevator. After the elevator is built, the maintenance and monitoring are also necessary so that it will provide a plenty of jobs to many people. Since people can get jobs to earn money, happiness will significantly increase. Therefore, according to the fact discussed above, building space elevator will increase happiness for human, it is a right action and obeys Utilitarianism.
Although space elevators can solve the problem of material and energy shortages in the future, these problems are not very urgent at present, and the aerospace ladder is not the only solution. According to the 2018 study, if the global use of oil and natural gas is still maintained in 2017, oil and natural gas can still be used for more than 50 years, and other resources can be used for a longer period of time. At the same time, renewable energy will gradually replace non-renewable energy, which will give us enough time to develop new energy sources such as nuclear energy that can solve the energy shortage problem. Humans are now in the early stages of space exploration, and the resources needed to travel to and from Earth and space are insufficient. With the small demand for space elevators. Taking into account the high cost of construction costs, travel costs will be higher than using rockets. When a large amount of material needs to be transported into space, it means that people have made major breakthroughs in the space field, and space elevators may not be the best choice at that time. And there are about 3000 meteor showers passing through the earth each year. These meteorites will cause catastrophic damage to space elevators, which means considerable maintenance costs.
At present, there are still 815 million people who are in hungry in the world, even in the UK, there are at least 30,7000 homeless people. People can adopt a method of situational ethics, which requires making ethical decisions in consideration of the circumstances of the case, not just prefabricated decisions and prescriptive rulers. In the current situation, we need to invest money to build a society to solve the problems we face, not space elevators. In addition, the space elevator is a big project, which means that the project will be developed worldwide. Considering the economic level and scientific research techniques of each country, not all countries in the world can afford it. Looking back at history, this situation is similar to the space race.
The Duty Ethics emphasizes motivation. In this case, it is difficult to distinguish the initial motivation of the space elevator. The motivation is to solve the shortage of materials and energy and carry out space exploration. It can also be one of Egoisms. It should not be the second ‘space race’ until we do it, and we should stop it.
In summary, space elevators can promote the development of space science and solve population and resource problems, but they are not urgently needed. Therefore, the space elevator should be continuously developed, waiting for the good opportunity to build.