Worried that Earth may soon suffer from overpopulation and irreversible environmental damage? Worry not, my fellow passengers of Spaceship Earth! In the future, we'll just hop on our space-faring Mayflowers to go find habitable planets. At least that was the promise of this Sunday comic strip from 1959.
The August 16, 1959 edition of Arthur Radebaugh's "Closer Than We Think" assured young newspaper readers of the space age that by the time they were adults, they'd be able to relocate on Space Mayflowers.
For people being forced to flee an overpopulated dystopian hellscape, those people don't look too upset. But then again, it looks like they're taking off from a layover stop on the moon. I hear it's supposed to have an awesome Hilton hotel.
From "Closer Than We Think":
If the earth should ever become overpopulated, emigration to outer space may become a commonplace. Bands of colonists might settle on distant planets, traveling there at lightning speeds in rockets of unbelievable size.
H. W. Ritchie of Thiokol Chemical has told Congress that space vehicles weighing more than ten million pounds could be a reality, carrying travelers "with all the comforts of a voyage on an ocean liner." Chrysler's B. J. Meldrum has predicted that the new rockets would look "like office buildings." Thus, tomorrow's Mayflowers of space would indeed be giant-size versions of the tiny vessels that brought the early colonists to America!
Of course, this idea has popped up countless times since the 1950s. Even children's movies like WALL-E have made the promise that we'll at least have the option to jump on a giant space ark should things get too hairy on Earth.
Unfortunately certain financial, technological, and political realities have gotten in the way of making our Space Mayflower dreams come true. But as soon as we finally push our way into the final frontier, here's hoping we're greeted as liberators.
Image: Scanned August 16, 1959 edition of Arthur Radebaugh's Closer Than We Think comic