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Earth- Home, Sweet Home

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posted on Jul, 3 2007 @ 02:27 PM
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I suppose this would belong under space exploration, but it has more varied implciations that just that.

I was reading Giving Mars Back its Heartbeat. Now, the essential message I'm focusing on is that making Mars habitable for human life is somethign in the far-future. The paper discussed has a timeline of 40,000 years, assumign great strides in science and technology. Now, I understand that terraforming the planet is different then domed colonies, which are very doable now or in the near future, economics aside. But the point is, 40,000 years is a very long time for a "new" Earth, a new habitable planet to go to. And even if we could do it in only 100 years, it's still only one more planet.

What I thought is this- popular culture and science fiction all have us conditioned to assume that we'll be "leaving" the Earth. Not leaving it behind perhaps, but defintiely finding bigger and better things out in space. Almost all focus on fictitious FTL drives that make it possible to explore the galaxy. Even "hard" science fiction usually has some sort of gimmicky power generation that allows humans to travel near the speed of light. They are usually set in the "far future" of 2200, with the most advanced maybe being set 1000 years into the future (novels like Dune beign the exception, but they're set 10,000 years in the future just to make current history totally irrelevent, their technology is not actually very advanced). Ask people where they think we'll be in 100 years, space travel almost always comes up.

However, realistically, we can't go faster than light. It's very difficult for us to even get close to the speed of light. Our fastest probes are something around two hundredths of one percent of the speed of light. Even if we could go 10% the speed of light, that's almsot a 100-year round trip to Proxima Centauri, and there's no proof there's even anything interesting or useful there.

Culture has us thinking that travel to other worlds is coming. Our own solar system is relatively boring- it might be of interest to meteorologists and geologists, and maybe Europa has some bugs for us to play with. But to the average person, our system doesn't have alot to offer. And getting to other star systems will just take an enormous amount of time. And getting to toerh solar systems with things of interest (read: intelligent life) could take hundreds, if not thousands of years with the best technology we can think of.

So after writing all this, I realize I have a very simple point, and it's the title of this thread: In all likelihood, we're all going to be on Earth for a very long time. Maybe our culture shouldn't be so obsessed with leaving it behind.

[edit on 3-7-2007 by benihana]

[edit on 3-7-2007 by benihana]




posted on Jul, 3 2007 @ 02:40 PM
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While I would not be as skeptical about warp drive or spatial folding as you appear to be, I do think Earth is the best living situation for humans and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.



posted on Jul, 3 2007 @ 05:52 PM
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My problem isn't with the theories. It's that in our culture, it expected that we'll have the technology for interstellar travel very soon. It's a nice dream, but I think it makes us overlook the act that we need to be keeping track of what's going on on Earth.

I mean, try to think of the fiction that deals with a nice Earth-based society living sustainably in a thousands years, and how many have Earth as a distant memory or a resource-depleted shadow of it's former self?



posted on Jul, 3 2007 @ 05:55 PM
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Originally posted by benihana
My problem isn't with the theories. It's that in our culture, it expected that we'll have the technology for interstellar travel very soon. It's a nice dream, but I think it makes us overlook the act that we need to be keeping track of what's going on on Earth.

I mean, try to think of the fiction that deals with a nice Earth-based society living sustainably in a thousands years, and how many have Earth as a distant memory or a resource-depleted shadow of it's former self?


Not many fictions. It seems like we're doing alright so far, I don't see the doom-and-gloom scenarios of a nightmare earth as foreseen by scifi coming to fruition.



posted on Jul, 3 2007 @ 05:56 PM
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I would like to add that I'm not keen on colonization, though I would like to see what is "out there". Visit, but not stay. Which is interesting, because apparently it's what our alien friends are doing.



posted on Jul, 3 2007 @ 06:01 PM
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I'm not really seeing the doom-and-gloom either. I just think that, whenever people think of the future nowadays, it's always "out there." Very little of people's expectations seem to be earthbound.

I guess maybe I'm just disappointed that everything that we want to happen probably won't. I mean, barring some major scientific breakthrough, none of us are going to live long enough to see anything other than maybe a few Mars missions. The 21st century coudl be a very distant memory to the first people that actually set foot on a real alien world.



posted on Jul, 3 2007 @ 10:08 PM
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Not sure, Beni, I've heard reasonable scientists forecast 150 or so as a new possible lifespan. I'm expecting 200 myself.



posted on Jul, 4 2007 @ 01:27 PM
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This is true, but even if I live to be 150 or 200, barring any major breakthroughs IMO there's not going to be a whole lot of exciting things going on space-wise. We can mine for resources and study the other planets and moons, but MArs is essentially a huge desert. Even if it has life, it's somewhat boring microbial life. The implicaiton it has, that intelligent life could exist elsewhere, is what's exciting. Europa could have some interesting animals, but that's a big maybe.

I guess what's also depressing is that I beleive we'll be able to achieve some form of biological immortality relatively soon. Not soon enough for us, though. It's not that I'm afraid of death really, I'd just be... disappointed at everything I'd miss.

Benjamin Franklin said he beleived he was born 200 years too early. I know what he felt like, seeing what will happen, but knowing you were around just too early to enjoy it.



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