While government tends to be short-term oriented (the election cycle drives decisions so officials can be re-elected), an area the do feel comfortable thinking long term is infrastructure. With regularity, they will initiate projects to build roads, telecommunications, buildings, and other infrastructure that takes many years to build (the second avenue subway line in Manhattan started in 1972).
In the The Clock of the Long Now, they argue that the same infrastructure thinking can be applied nature such as terraforming. Maybe by trying to terraform Mars we can fix the Earth.
- Longer time horizons are a competitive advantage—applying infrastructure to natural systems might pay off 100 years from now when parts of the globe become uninhabitable due to climate change.
- People are bad at long-term thinking, governments are no different.
- Terraforming is another example of how space exploration and conservation are natural partners.
- Colonizing Mercury is a better prospect than colonizing Mars.