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Increased off-world population in 2050?

At the time of writing this question, there are 6 people in low Earth orbit, no people on suborbital space flights, no people in high orbit, or on the Moon or Mars or any asteroid or en route to those places.

Up-to-date information on the space population may be found here.

For the last 17 years, since the International Space Station (ISS) began long term operations, the population of humans in space has been at least two – the minimal crew of the ISS.

The highest number of people in space at any one time has been 13, reached in 1995 and 2009.

But the ISS is reaching the end of its life. Despite discussions of many other possible crewed space missions, even up to colonization of the Moon or Mars, no particular venture seems certain.

This uncertainty about future space missions means the distribution of possible populations is not at all Gaussian. There are many scenarios where crewed spaceflight might be abandoned – it is expensive, and so far has not proven commercially valuable. On the other hand a successful colonization effort could result in many thousands of people off world.

Because of the difficult distribution, we will ask a simpler question. Will the population be higher than the current maximum?

Will the population of humans off of planet Earth at midnight UTC time of December 31, 2050, be higher than 13?

If clarification is needed of what counts as "human", see this question. "Off of planet Earth" will mean farther than 100km from the surface of Earth, using the altitude conventionally used for space records.


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