First, in no way do I mean to disparage those interested in the exploration of space. I think it has been a worthwhile pursuit...up to this point in
time. However, I wonder why we as a civilization feel so compelled to continue with manned exploration of space, specifically traveling to other
planets(?). I believe orbiting laboratories are also a worthwhile pursuit, but again why does mankind need to go to places like Mars or beyond?
Over the years I keep hearing this recurring theme of..."Because it's the only way the human race can survive, it's the only way mankind can be
In my humble opinion that is a BS argument. A far better argument would be simply... "Because it's just really cool!"
Okay, so (hopefully) before anyone gets all wound up; here's where I'm coming from...
1. Human beings require (2) primary things to survive longer than a couple of days (or even hours). They require "air" (oxygen) and water. We
already know no planet in our solar system has either of these two things...at least in a readily usable state.
2. Conversely, planet Earth is 75% water. Planet Earth also has abundant "air". But Earth is over-populated, right? No, planet Earth is less than
10% populated. And, with all the money we spend playing around with sending man to Mars we could use that same money to explore things like creating
habitats on/in water (just one example).
3. Let's say we discovered a planet that was made out of solid gold, or diamonds, or some other valuable commodity. First, we know that planet is not
in our solar system. And second, because of that, mankind has about zero probability of ever reaching said planet (at least not in our human form).
Bottom line, man will never go there. Ever.
4. Why? The first Voyager space probe was launched in 1977, forty one years ago. Some say Voyager has now left the "solar system", but in reality it
has not...not even close. Voyager 1 may be past Neptune, our furthest planet, but it is far from exiting the solar system. It has passed the
Termination Shock and the Heliopause, but it's still got a long, long
way to go to truly "exit" the solar system. It's going to take at least
another 300 years (yes, 'hundred', and 7x longer than it's already been traveling to date) to even reach the Oort Cloud and then another 30,000+/-
years to pass through it! So, just to exit the solar system from our little planet Earth takes about 30,341 years. If we say the average lifespan of
a human is 100 years (one generation), then it would require no less
than 303 "generations" for mankind to reach a planet outside the solar
system...three hundred and three "generations". If a "grandfather" is two generations away, a planetary traveler's grand-grand-grand...is going to
have to be expressed in exponents! That's what we're dealing with. The reality of it.
5. But, but, but...maybe we could travel faster than Voyager, right? Well, not in our current human form...and where is all the research into this?
By "faster" we would need to be talking about percentages of the speed of light, not just a 'little bit' faster than voyager, not just 4-5x the speed
of Voyager, but tens of thousands, even millions, of times faster! Just the amount of time it would take to accelerate the human body to these
velocities without destroying it
would take years and years of constant acceleration. Acceleration which requires fuel and/or energy which
we'd need to put into space first. Human physiology is simply not designed to accelerate and decelerate from extreme velocities such as these, even
forgetting about the technical challenges required to accomplish it. Ok, so that's out.
6. Well, let's go to Mars then, or Saturn, or some other planet in our solar system. Why? What can one of those planets give us that Earth can't
already provide (refer back to #2)? The facts is, the human being was expressly designed to reside on planet Earth; it's a "custom" model number, the
human creature. Any other planet we already know is going to require a very steep adaptation curve in order for a human to survive. Far beyond
anything the human form has endured in the history of mankind to date.
7. Landing on another planet is hard, so let's just go to Mars. Oh boy, it sure as heck is "hard"!! In fact it's so hard that mankind has only done
it a few times successfully in the big scheme of things. Landing on Mars right now as I write this, even with 21st century technology, only has about
a 40-50% success ratio (and that's being generous)...but we want to send a human there??? Why?
8. Unmanned Autonomous Vehicles (UAV's) are replacing mankind all over planet Earth right now. Why does "man" have to go to Mars, why not send UAV's
instead? UAV's are replacing pilots, replacing drivers, replacing underwater explorers...heck UAV's are taking over everything practically, but for
some reason we're bent on sending mankind somewhere. I don't get it.
9. ET, what about ET???? We're never going to meet ET, and if we ever do he will be so far different from us we humans will likely not be able to
relate to, or even comprehend, his existence. Sorry, but that's pretty much the reality of it. It's fun to think about, but in reality it's not
likely to happen. Plus, we already know humans are pretty much the only intelligent life form in this solar system (at least 'intelligent' in a form
we understand). So, there's no sense in looking for ET anywhere around here, we'd already know him if he was to be of value to us.
At the end of the day what this all boils down into is how money gets appropriated and spent.
I'm all for astronomy, I'm all for space exploration in the pursuit of understanding our physical world better, but I'm genuinely baffled by this
obsession with sending mankind to another planet...unless the reason is simply because...it'd be cool and because we can (try).
P.S. As always, comments are welcome.
edit on 4/21/2018 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)