Metaculus Help: Spread the word
If you like Metaculus, tell your friends! Share this question via Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit.
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.
Metaculus help: Predicting
Predictions are the heart of Metaculus. Predicting is how you contribute to the wisdom of the crowd, and how you earn points and build up your personal Metaculus track record.
The basics of predicting are very simple: move the slider to best match the likelihood of the outcome, and click predict. You can predict as often as you want, and you're encouraged to change your mind when new information becomes available.
The displayed score is split into current points and total points. Current points show how much your prediction is worth now, whereas total points show the combined worth of all of your predictions over the lifetime of the question. The scoring details are available on the FAQ.
Note: this question resolved before its original close time. All of your predictions came after the resolution, so you did not gain (or lose) any points for it.
Note: this question resolved before its original close time. You earned points up until the question resolution, but not afterwards.
This question is not yet open for predictions.
Metaculus help: Community Stats
Use the community stats to get a better sense of the community consensus (or lack thereof) for this question. Sometimes people have wildly different ideas about the likely outcomes, and sometimes people are in close agreement. There are even times when the community seems very certain of uncertainty, like when everyone agrees that event is only 50% likely to happen.
When you make a prediction, check the community stats to see where you land. If your prediction is an outlier, might there be something you're overlooking that others have seen? Or do you have special insight that others are lacking? Either way, it might be a good idea to join the discussion in the comments.