I’ve been fooling with the notion of humans as a spacefaring species for many years. Sometimes I go so far as to toss out scenarios in which we might leave our mortal coil here on earth and head for the stars. The obvious first step will be to establish our permanent presence on Mars, the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, and in the Asteroid Belt. Here’s a funky little scenario, written as if looking back upon the 21st century. The misspellings, bad grammar, and technical errors are all mine:
By mid-century the framework of spacer society was firmly laid. What had started out as a system of trial-and-error experiments became honed, as the new generations of spacefaring people learned to cope with the demands of their foreign environment. By the year 2038 a rudimentary government was in place, headquartered at Clarke City, Mars. The Martian Constitution was written as a guideline for expanding upon the human penchant for curiosity and inquisitiveness. Its authors sought to encourage new ideas and new discoveries while laying down the ground rules for a democratic society in space. It allowed for no countries and no other governments to be established within its jurisdiction, while at the same time encouraging spacers to look after their own local affairs. Tort law as was practiced on Earth was all but abandoned, and the concept of personal liability was discarded. There were very few attempting to practice law in space. Personal lawsuits simply didn’t exist outside Earth’s gravity well.
In 2042 it was decided, via the Earth-Mars Treaty, that the new Martian government would govern the area from the Sun-Mars LaGrange points to the outer reaches of the Jovian system. The Earth was so self-absorbed in its fight to eradicate crime and terrorism at home that its leaders quickly gave in to spacers’ demands for self rule, and surprisingly, allowed them to lay claim to Mars, Jupiter, and the Jovian moons, and to the asteroid belt. Had they demanded jurisdiction over Saturn and the outer gas giants they might well have bargained for that as well. But they settled for control of the area of the solar system that they deemed most valuable to them. In return, Earth would serve as the seat of government for Earth, Venus, and Mercury. The area inside the orbit of Mercury, including the Sun itself, would fall under no jurisdiction and would be a “free zone”, intended for scientific study, as would the space outside the orbit of Pluto, up to the edge of the Oort cloud.
The Martian treaty with the government of Earth was the first of its kind, for it not only described the initial colonization of space, it represented a new kind of land ownership which illustrated an area in constant change, a dynamic space where the real estate was in a constant state of flux. Due to the differing orbital sizes, eccentricities, and periods of the planets and asteroids the shapes of the areas governed by Earth and by Mars were always variable. Therefore, a system of relational data had to be used to describe these areas, using diffeomorphism for the first time to describe these relationships. The benchmarks used were not fixed in space, but were constantly moving. Today, it is the diffeomorphic relationships between those original benchmarks that determine where a government’s sovereignty begins and ends.
Armed with a new outlook and a new set of incentives, spacers moved quickly to build their new colonies within the new frontier. Land-based stations sprang up all over the surface of Mars, on Callisto and Ganymede, and among both the eastern and western groups of the Trojan asteroids. Space colonies were built in orbit around Mars and Ganymede and within the asteroid belt. Spartan and efficient, these colonies and stations grew steadily, acting as jumping off points for new and distant places.
In 2064, after a long series of unsuccessful attempts to negotiate the removal of Earth’s corporate presence in the Martian territories, spacers launched an attack against those corporations, now referred to as the “Four Day War”. During the short conflict every single corporate holding in Martian territory was seized. Those working for offplanet businesses who were not sympathetic toward spacers were allowed to return to Earth. A great majority of them considered themselves to be part of the spacer community and chose to receive Martian citizenship.
On the last day of the war several corporate headquarters on Earth were attacked from space, destroying them and killing thousands. Damage to the net was extensive, causing people everywhere to fear a repeat of the holocaust of 2019. It was this bold attack on their own homeland, and with it the fracturing of their belief in their own safety, that caused Earthers to back off their quest for corporate dominance of the solar system. For the time being, it seemed as though the people of Earth had lost their appetite for rule outside their own atmosphere. After the dust had settled from the Four Day War, Earthers and Spacers began to live together peacefully, and have managed to do so for the last two decades.
As with the exploration of any frontier, the first laws of the spacer community came about through necessity. They were common sense rules meant to keep a person alive in the hostile environment of space. Most of the rules set forth in the original Martian Directive were prohibitions against allowing a fellow spacer to come to harm, through either action or inaction. They formalized the rules that spacers had known and followed for many years. The Martian government, and spacer society at large, has purposely kept government small. Most of the work of the Martian government concerns relations with Earth. In Martian culture the pursuit of happiness and fulfillment, which includes safety, has been left to the individual.
Excerpts from “Beyond Sanctuary: A View of the Twenty-first Century From the Outside”
© 2083, by Jefferson Landley, published by MicroPlex