reply to post by darkbake
It is certainly good to hear a figure with gravitas saying something that many people have been thinking and saying in less respected circles, for an
awfully long time.
The simple fact of the matter is, that although I personally think that at least eighty percent of the twaddle you hear about over crowding on this
planet is caused by territorial boundaries (a fantastically outmoded concept if you ask me), rather than a genuine lack of resources and space, if we
on Earth are to continue to adhere to concepts like borders and nations, then we are going to have to move beyond the confines of our atmosphere, to
mine, to reap resources.
And when you think about it, theres an awful lot more to this colonisation thing than mere industrial concerns. Its been a considerable time since
this planet has been hit by a significant chunk of someone elses planet, and the last time that happened, it caused an event which is supposed to have
wiped out the dinosaurs. Since that time, the planet has been affected by lesser bits of space dross, in incidents like the Tunguska event of 1908,
which apparantly detonated mid air, and flattened thousands of square kilometres of vegetation. The energy of the explosion was greater than that of
the nuclear blast which was unleased over Hiroshima. In fact, it was one thousand times greater.
Thats pretty terrifying and all that, but when you consider that all this was caused by an object which is likely to have been no larger than 60-190
metres, it really puts things in perspective, because the apocalyptic impact which is supposed to have killed off all the dinosaurs, was that of
something in the order of ten kilometres in diameter slamming into the planet, and it hit with one hundred MILLION megatons of force. The words,
smegging, and doomed, would appear to be appropriate.
If that happened now, despite all our bunkering and cleverness, our species would be either wiped out, or at least thoroughly embuggered for
CENTURIES at best, if not millenia! As our technology becomes more powerful, cleverer, capable of moving us further and faster, it would be the
highest form of irresponsibility, for the human race, as a species, not to consider the implications of such threats. It is fair to say that in times
past, such threats were beyond the capacity of mankind to even begin to counter, or mitigate the effect of, and therefore we have had generations of
ignoring these things as beyond our ken, and beyond our reach to affect.
Though we have no active and fully prepared method to deal with such a thing in a way which might see the Earth escape unscathed (although methods
are being thought up as we speak), it seems to me that if we could only increase the reach and efficiency of our spacecraft, we could distribute our
species across several different planets/moons. This would mean that :
a) Our entire species would only be wiped out completely if something catastrophic happened to the entire solar system, something bigger even than a
massive meteor strike.
b) Any survivors of a meteor strike on any one of the populated locales in the solar system, could be rescued or supported by residents of the other
c) Having boots on the ground in as many different locations across the solar system, would allow our species access to a greater diversity and
abundance of mineral wealth, fuels, materials, the like. These would further bolster our species, because using these resources we could create ever
better technologies. Our reach and power would again increase.
The human race, without an expansionist policy for the solar system, has a rather smaller potential lifespan, than it would if it set its sights on
the stars themselves. And there is more to this way of thinking than protecting the species from catastrophic celestial events.
Human beings are at their best, when they are about the business of discovering new frontiers, when there is something out there, for every man or
woman to discover, that might never have been seen before. Adventure nourishes this species, in a way that nothing else in its history ever has. Some
might argue that war has seen more progress than peaceful expansion and exploration, but I would argue that times of war have proven as damaging as
they have productive.
No, if our species is to reach its potential, to escape total devastation, it must go forth from this planet, take root on others, and by so doing
make our selves less vulnerable. Some might say that such thinking is hubris and nothing more, that to have such thoughts is to ignore the fact that
we are nought more than psychotic apes with delusions of our own importance. However, I suggest that far from a step away from our animal roots, the
desire to survive at all costs, the willingness and wit to ensure that survival, these are INTRINSIC parts of all life. Our capabilities in this
regard ought to grow as our species ages, and I hope that our potential is realised, expanded, and realised again, and that all the solar system
becomes part of our daily lives in a more immediate sense.
edit on 14-11-2013 by TrueBrit because: Added clarification.