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BBC Future: We Must Become a Multi-Planet Species

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posted on Nov, 14 2013 @ 06:58 AM
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One person who would like to see humans living outside the Earth in our lifetime is former astronaut Jeff Hoffman. The technology to reach nearby planets is possible, at least to make the first steps there.

Hoffman is one of around 500 people who have had a unique view of the Earth – he’s orbited the planet. Imagine this: while in space he could put his hand out and block the planet, so everything we know, all of humanity, every person who has ever lived was blocked by his hand. It shows how vulnerable we are. Hoffman thinks that for the long-term survival of our species, we have to become a multi-planet being. The idea of seeding Mars with life is almost an ethical imperative.


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This is a pretty simple argument, I just think it is kind of cool that I saw it appear on the BBC website - I've heard environmentalists in the past worry about the human impact on other worlds that don't even have life on them, if we were to start colonization.

However, I disagree entirely with that argument, because, for one, colonization would ease the stress on Earth - which has a diverse amount of life and it is worth protecting that. For another, I've said for a long time that space has resources, and resources are needed by society to prevent stagnation.

People might have a natural tendency to react to this "taking resources" thing as if it is a negative thing, but that's precisely because of the shortage on Earth.

In space, we aren't stealing from anyone, like we stole from the Native Americans, which is part of history, and its long-term effect debatable - but even so, space colonization would be ethically more postive. In fact, even if only a percentage of those resources were used in a constructive manner, we could end up with more areas for life and cultures to develop.

Luckily, if we colonize another planet, we can eventually learn how to terraform that, and it is going to be a lot more positive than the colonization efforts that previously focused on eliminating and stealing from native cultures, and tearing down landscapes.

It's really the opposite - creating new cultures, cultivating new landscapes with new life, while simultaneously gaining resources as well, from asteroids, for example, there are mineral resources, and from that, in addition to water (an extremely valuable resource if we are talking about space colonization), which we finally can agree exists off Earth in places such as Mars and even on the moon (for a while, water existing off Earth was taboo for some reason in religious circles, like my Catholic school, for example) -

We can take the water and the minerals previously mentioned, and use that to cultivate new rainforests, new forests, fill lakes with new fish, start ecosystems, build new structures, find new sources of electrical power, all of that is possible, even in our own solar system - it just takes some creativity and science combined with ambition -

We could conceivably even use gas giants in our solar system for cities in the clouds, and the moons of gas giants are also colonizable, and might be easier to terraform, in fact, than something like Mars.
edit on 14amThu, 14 Nov 2013 07:15:58 -0600kbamkAmerica/Chicago by darkbake because: (no reason given)




posted on Nov, 14 2013 @ 07:06 AM
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reply to post by darkbake
 


sound great,
If only there were a more collaborative effort among nations to construct a craft or crafts
to sustain living and travel to planets light years away. Seems to be just too much effort
in wanting to be a ruler of the planet in the financial sector rather than a continuity of human
existence in other worlds. I watched Pacific Rim again last night and thought, we dont NEED a
global threat the be united, just do it and we can achieve anything.



posted on Nov, 14 2013 @ 07:19 AM
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I'm all for colonization efforts.

I'm of the opinion we should have at least had a long-term science base on the moon by now, but, we don't.

All our eggs, and everything are tied to this tiny speck of rock.
The sooner we just get out into our own solar system, on the moon, into the Asteroid belt, the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, the safer we are.

The sooner we have self sustaining independent colonies throughout our disk, the sooner many engineering hurdles will be overcome in realizing the next step in interstellar exploration and colonization as well.

Getting off planet is a good thing. Getting us to other stars is even better.




posted on Nov, 14 2013 @ 07:22 AM
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reply to post by Lil Drummerboy
 


You know what, a collaborative effort between nations is a great idea - and even they don't get along, they could all potentially benefit from it, even gaining new territory and the like. You are right, we don't need an external threat to unite us. Even the Arab nations are extremely interested in technology at the moment - in fact, from dealing with business in this area, I've learned they are extremely interested right now in investing in new technology.

If we could develop the right terraforming tech, we don't need to leave our solar system - travelling to another one would be a waste of time, we actually seem to have lucked out with the one we have.

Our own solar system has resources and multiple inhabitable planets and moons that might even be better than the best ones in nearby stars. Mars is not a stretch, our moon is not a stretch for space stations, especially early on for construction of technology in space, with a gravitational field 1/6 of Earth, it is much less costly to move things constructed from there into space, for example.

In addition, I think people tend to forget about all the awesome moons, especially of the gas giants.



posted on Nov, 14 2013 @ 07:41 AM
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accidental post
edit on 14-11-2013 by BitSlapper because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 14 2013 @ 07:42 AM
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off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


 



posted on Nov, 14 2013 @ 08:35 AM
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reply to post by AliceBleachWhite
 


Thanks, that's a great reply, I agree


You are right about the moon base. It should be a priority.



posted on Nov, 14 2013 @ 10:27 AM
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I think a big factor preventing this is the fact that our species cannot even get along with each other on this little rock! If we could grow above and beyond religious and political differences, humanity would see these dreams achieved. It kind of goes back to the whole thing of the USA wanting to be the policeman of the world. We don't even have our own house clean, so how can we branch out into the universe?

It needs to happen, but humanity is going to have to "grow up" first.



posted on Nov, 14 2013 @ 10:27 AM
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Humans can only inhabit those moons around the gas giants that are not in the gas giants magnetosphere's, so don't get too excited about some of them.
Perhaps one day someone will think of the idea of collecting all the large asteroids together to make a large enough 'moon' for decent gravity for colonists, and shift it into an 'earth' orbit for warmth and travel to earth.
Not very sure on the orbital dynamics of that idea.



posted on Nov, 14 2013 @ 11:35 AM
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Look at the pictures of Mars....sand and rock...who in their right mind would want to live there cooped up in a little sealed yurt. If I wanted to live in a Yurt, I would put one on my property.



posted on Nov, 14 2013 @ 11:41 AM
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reply to post by darkbake
 


This is basically my viewpoint as well. All the resources we need as a species to spread to the stars are orbiting the sun in between mars and jupiter.

Even if spreading out was just to escape the potential of asteroidal extinction, it would be worth it.



posted on Nov, 14 2013 @ 11:44 AM
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reply to post by darkbake
 





.. It's really the opposite - creating new cultures, cultivating new landscapes with new life, while simultaneously gaining resources as well, from asteroids, for example, there are mineral resources, and from that, in addition to water (an extremely valuable resource if we are talking about space colonization), which we finally can agree exists off Earth in places such as Mars and even on the moon (for a while, water existing off Earth was taboo for some reason in religious circles, like my Catholic school, for example) ..


Wait? For real? What exactly did they teach you at school?



posted on Nov, 14 2013 @ 11:57 AM
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reply to post by optimus primal
 


Wow. Trippy video.

I definitely think asteroid mining is what we need to be doing, so we can then build a semi respectable 'shipyard' in orbit as a launchpad to move further afield. I personally think that projects like Mars One though ambitious are a bit silly really. A bit like trying to run before you can crawl so to speak.



posted on Nov, 14 2013 @ 12:06 PM
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I fully agree with it but it wont happen until you harness the power of human greed by allowing claims to be staked on planets and asteroids. When that becomes possible people will do it. Until then we are all going to be waiting here for the universe to get around to snuffing us.

Waiting on us to mature and get along is pretty much favouring extinction as the likely outcome for us.
edit on 14-11-2013 by justwokeup because: typo



posted on Nov, 14 2013 @ 03:08 PM
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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 colonies.

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.



posted on Nov, 14 2013 @ 03:26 PM
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The rich folks would leave us meek folks to inherit the Earth.

After it is completely irradiated and polluted and they have escaped to another planet to pillage to satisfy their lust for power and wealth.

Get real people, and step out of the fantasy mindset, you will not be going, you will be left behind while the mess makers have a fresh pallette to work on.

Do you think these private space projects have you in mind? No, only money gets to ride.

Start saving now!



posted on Nov, 14 2013 @ 03:51 PM
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reply to post by Toadmund
 


Do you realise that if an expansion of significant scale is ever to occur, practical, hard working people, are going to be the people to push that boundary? I cannot see a bunch of soft handed, pencil necked, paper pushing tax evaders rolling up their sleeves and building colonies without the able assistance of capable people, with calloused hands, and real practical smarts.

The super rich are rarely familiar with the difference between the settings on a DeWalt DC727 cordless drill for example. Do you understand what I am saying?



posted on Nov, 14 2013 @ 04:00 PM
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You and me both man. I've been saying this for years. The answers to many of our species' woes lie in the stars. Yet we are so near sighted that we cannot unite to achieve this goal anytime soon.

Think about this for a second, since the colonization of the Americas this planet has lost all its frontiers. Frontiers are key places where people who shun intrusive and controlling governments can go to live happily. These places have started to disappear from our planet and the ones that remain are still open to surveillance by our Big Brother. If we could move to space, we could start whole new countries (would it be called a country at this point?) or areas for these people to go and let the ones who don't mind the intrusiveness stay where they are. You notice this happened in droves during the early parts of the United States' history.



posted on Nov, 14 2013 @ 04:04 PM
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reply to post by Toadmund
 


Or we would end up working for minimum wage digging holes on a rock somewhere?



posted on Nov, 14 2013 @ 04:16 PM
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reply to post by Toadmund
 

You missed one thing. Where ever the rich go, they have to take along their support staff. The transportation must be built and operated. You're rich, and might get a hangnail pushing a button. Then, there are all those pesky things that must be done, if you are to enjoy your wealth. What good is being rich, without the hangers on and such to massage your ego and self image. Little people to order around, and come at your least whim.
The meek may not drive the bus, but they will be the passengers if in the baggage compartment. It was true in Columbus' time, and true for ours and the future.





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