After a long forgotten apocalypse, humanity struggled to rebuild itself, so of course, no one has been in outer space for over half a Millenia. In the early days after the cataclysm, newly formed farming villages and savage tribes and mutants did not even think it was possible, nor did they think a man could possibly have gone to the moon.

In the Three United City-States of California, however, space travel was slowly being rediscovered and redeveloped. The TUCSC is one of the most advanced nations in North America.It’s has taken multiple generations work, countless amounts of money on scavenged parts, and more. My question is, what would be the point of space travel after the apocalypse

Edit: There doing manned space travel.

  • $\begingroup$ For unmanned travel, same as today - communication and surveillance. $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Mar 30, 2018 at 21:30
  • $\begingroup$ It’s manned space flight $\endgroup$
    – Qualos
    Mar 30, 2018 at 21:35
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe postapocalyptic conditions on Earth are so bad that people got determined to escape to Mars. $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Mar 30, 2018 at 21:37

5 Answers 5


There is a motivation, and a total disaster in the backlog can help.

Survival of the species

Life is fragile. Earth is fragile. It's a natural wish to have a "backup" somewhere, so that humanity does not go "poof!" anytime soon. An apocalypse in the historic past might provide exactly the kind of motivation needed. "See what happened not so long ago? It might happen again. We might not be so lucky next time. Let's colonize space, yay!"

The longer the apocalypse dates back, the less motivation it is. No one wants to colonize space in in our reality today just because the dinosaurs died out.

Granted, the more recent the apocalypse the less resources are available. And those that are, are probably best used differently. However, also the more knowledge is available.


  • Colonize Moon or Mars, with not self-sustainable colonies, because it's hard enough without. In the event of a major hiccup the colonies might die out earlier as the mainland does. The Moon is a harsh mistress!
  • Create colony ships, which is probably the only sustainable way to seed a colony at a distant star. Above section is rather about life in space, as opposed to finding/making another Earth-like planet.
  • Develop alt-world teleportation and seed "cores" for a colony randomly. (That's basically the plot of the Russian "The obligation to a species", it was probably not translated in other languages, though.)
  • Create a new species that is more suited for the life in space. (This is basically the historic premise of "Banner of the stars", taking abh being space elfs aside. And the people+ of the space colonies going into the war with normalos on the surface is the plot device of the half of Gundams, yeah.)

Seti found a signal... in English

You didn't mention what the tech level of Earth was before the apolcalypse, so let's assume that a colony or two was founded before the apocalypse. As humanity rebuilt itself, it recreated what before the apocalpyse was called Seti: the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence.

So long after the apocalypse, we're at it again... hunting for any sign of intelligent life in the universe. We found such a signal, and it was in plain ASCII.

We're coming home

After world leaders change their underwear, they invest trillions into new space technology. Not just to defend ourselves from humans long lost to history... but to get to them first.

[Queue appropriate music to underscore our determination to win at any cost...]

Qualos... I gave in to the tempation to answer this question because it tickled my fancy too much. But it's not a worldbuilding question and is technically off-topic. Whenever you ask something akin to "now what?" or "why did they do this?" it's storybuilding (plot development) not worldbuilding. Please keep this in mind. We appreciate your participation, but the goal of this site is to help build the rules of your world and/or universe, not help tell the story. Though I answered, I also voted to close the question, which is appropriate (even though answering wasn't).


There are available resources that require manned space travel to obtain.

Manned space travel as has occurred already is all basically PR stunts and justified with basic science research. The moon missions were political competitions with the Soviets. These reasons are probably not applicable to your post-apocalyptics.

If there were resources that could be obtained via manned mission which were not otherwise obtainable, that would justify it. The same reason Columbus came to America - he was looking for a shortcut to India and cheaper access to lucrative spices.

Have there be resources in orbit, or on the moon, or on Mars which were left by the preapocalyptics and which have not been spoiled by weather and hungry mutants over the ensuing years. Maybe little "Mr Fusion" engines, or super weapons tech, or miracle drugs or other things for which the tech has been lost but which your people might use - or reverse engineer. Your manned space missions go out and bring home the bacon.


They found out someone else had been up there sometime.

Maybe they built radar or telescopes powerful enough to see something unnatural, or find well preserved records, or notice a car burning up on reentry.

Mind blown. A whole new world opens up. An acquaintance of mine became an atheist on seeing the moon landing because "where was heaven?" If new knowledge undermines a previously held belief one possible reaction is to totally embrace the new paradigm.

A regional power isn't likely to accept someone else has better technology, if they suspect whatever they saw came from the Asians they will be in a panic to close the space gap.


Many of the reasons we have for investing in space travel today apply just the same in a post apocalypse wasteland.

Several examples come to mind:

Establish new satellites for gps and/or real time satellite images.

Able to launch satellites as weapons to be activated and dropped later.

Use space travel as a way to rediscover various tech secrets by researching with a set goal in mind of space travel.

Bragging rights or a show of power.


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