Re: Wanderers: An Introduction
I certainly agree we should continue exploring, but disagree on colonization. OK, maybe we'll have science colonies on the moon and Mars, but this will not be a way to save humanity when the Sun becomes a red giant.
The death of our star is the last of our worries, although it is an inevitable event. We don't have much to worry about for several billion years. Our real concerns are exceeding the carrying capacity of our planet due to exponential population growth, nuclear winter due to global nuclear war, global warming and mass extinction due to acting like assholes and abusing our rain forests, estuaries and waters.
Colonizing the Moon and Mars and other planets is not a means of saving humanity from the death of our star. We must learn to teraform and colonize other worlds so that eventually we can spread out across the cosmos. Our sun will die, but our species will be extinct long before this could ever happen. A meteor could strike at anytime and wipe out the entire planets biosphere. There are numerous ways life could cease to exist on planet Earth that do not entail our sun dying. If our entire species is here on Earth our entire species will be no more. That's my argument for the need for venturing elsewhere. All of our eggs are in one basket, and the basket could slip and fall at anytime.
In the superb book A Short History of Nearly Everything , Bill Bryson makes a powerful case that humans will never EVER leave the solar system.
Nonsense. I can throw zillions of examples of where educated and respected people said something cannot be done...and then it was done."Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right."
- Henry Ford (1863-1947) "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."
- Thomas Watson (1874-1956), Chairman of IBM, 1943
Do you really want to plan our future around the negativity of the nay-sayers?"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons."
-Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us."
-Western Union internal memo, 1876."Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value."
-Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre."Everything that can be invented has been invented."
-Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899."640K ought to be enough for anybody."
- Bill Gates, 1981
So Bill Bryson says, "...humans will never EVER leave the solar system."
I'm sure he does and I'm sure he never will. But if we put the best minds together and work on a problem, any problem, we can solve the problem. My opinion is that the masses don't see the value, and won't see the value, until it is far too late. The learning curve and lead-time necessary to develop the technologies of deep space exploration are massive. The means of travel may be via some sort of solar sail or wormhole...who knows. One thing is for certain, and that is that the technology doesn't yet exist. But there was a day when electricity was unknown, computers were a fantasy, and cloning the stuff of science fiction. We have to be diligent in researching and exploring the heavens and the sciences of astronomy, cosmology and physics.
"...to get out of the sun's gravity and beyond the Oort cloud would require travelling approximately FIFTY THOUSAND ASTRONOMICAL UNITS! That is completely impossible. Humans will remain in the solar system until it disintegrates...
People said airplanes were impossible. How the hell could something heavier than air fly? Now excuse me please. I have a plane to catch. Chris "The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them"