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Tyler Cowen

Human Rights on Mars Won’t Be the Same as Those on Earth

Does Mars need a constitution? Eventually, but there are more urgent questions to address first, such as how to get there.

No settlement (yet).

No settlement (yet).

Photographer: NASA/Getty Images North America

Kim Stanley Robinson writes bestselling novels about a colony on Mars. Elon Musk talks of actually colonizing Mars. There is even a 30-page constitution, courtesy of a Yale political science class, for a Mars settlement. The actual prospects for a settlement remain uncertain, but the question of how it should be organized could stand some further scrutiny.

The Yale proposal is about how to make a Mars settlement democratic, as is an earlier proposal published in Space Legal Issues. But I fear a harsher question needs to be addressed first: Should a Mars settlement allow for contractual servitude?