Why Humans Should Not Worry About Leaving Earth To Be Multiplanetary Species?
When you wake up tomorrow, you wouldn’t want to worry about the future of humanity when you have time and resources in the present, would you?
Humans originated on Earth about two million years ago on the Earth, and we have accomplished so much as a civilization. As we have accomplished, we might have created ultimate doomsday weapon that can wipe out entire life on the earth, or may be some gigantic asteroid might hit the earth, just like 65 million years ago, during the age of dinosaurs.
At the September 27, 2016 meeting of the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, CEO of Space X and Tesla, Elon Musk first announced the proposal of human to achieve multiplanetary civilization and not just limit on Earth. “I think there are really two fundamental paths…”, said Musk, “History is going to bifurcate along two directions. One path is we stay on Earth forever and then there will be some eventual extinction event, as history suggests that there will be some doomsday event. The alternative is to become a space-bearing civilization and a multiplanetary species.”
I think many people get the wrong idea about trying to make a self-sustaining colony on Mars. It isn’t like “Well, we messed this planet up too much, let’s go to that one”. It is because there are many natural mass extinction events that can wipe us out in the blink of an eye!
That being said, of course, the expanding Sun will also destroy Mars but getting off our planet and living on the other worlds is a start. If we are to survive, we’d better get good at living all over the universe, even pursuing interstellar travel and life. Spreading out into space will have an even greater effect. It will completely change the future of the human race and maybe determine whether we have any future at all. It won’t solve any of our immediate problems on planet Earth, but it will give us a new perspective on them, and cause us to look outwards rather than inwards. Hopefully it would unite us to face a common challenge. But Mars is a start.
British theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking suggests we better get off the planet or wait for our doomsday. In 2017, he set a deadline for humanity to save itself. Within the next 100 years, he warned, we need to colonize Mars and other planets. If we don’t, we may not survive climate change, disease, and other versions of doom we’re bound to inflict on ourselves this century. Hawking said, “We have given our planet the disastrous gift of climate change … When we we have reached similar crises there has usually been somewhere else to colonize … But there is no new world, no utopia around the corner.” He exclaims, “We are running out of space, and the only places to go to are other worlds.”
We thought space was worth a big effort in the 60s. In 1962 President Kennedy committed the U.S. to landing a man on the Moon by the end of the decade. This was achieved on time by the Apollo 11 mission in 1969. The space race helped to create a fascination with science and led to great advances in technology, including the first large-scale integrated circuits which are the basis of all modern computers. Humans are natural explorers, only rovers on the other planets and moons won’t help. The purpose to go Mars is to advance. We better society in many ways. If not for the lunar landing, we wouldn’t have the technologies we have today. If we don’t strive for more, we would be stagnant.
In 2016–2017, while I was at school, some of the teachers and my fellows would discuss the future of 2020s and 2030s, human colonization of Mars and space tourism. Sometimes, we would even think of living on Mars, but it wouldn’t be too easy as it may seem. The problem would be exclusivity. Only rich people which a major of the planet aren’t would even have the opportunity to go to the Mars if that was the case. “Going into space won’t be cheap, but it would take only a small proportion of world resources.” Says Hawking, “NASA’s budget has remained roughly constant in real terms since the time of the Apollo landings, but it has decreased from 0.3% of US GDP in 1970 to 0.12% now. Even if we were to increase the international budget 20 times to make a serious effort to go into space it would only be a small fraction of world GDP.”
Another bizarre idea is that space and other planets are some kind of escape hatch for the rich, when they are, and will continue to be for many years, exceptionally dangerous, not to mention completely devoid of Michelin-starred restaurants. It is not about saving “Me”, it is about saving “We”.
Problem in the logic of people thinking about not colonizing Mars is that a natural or man-made disaster could happen at any moment, even if we were on Mars, realistically what other than man would be up there? A dog maybe, a few mice and some insects, perhaps. Hardly world saving.
Self sustaining is the key. A colony on Mars that doesn’t require resources from Earth to survive. They’ve got a whole city with indoor farms and factories and everything. That way at least humanity has a small chance of continuing, even if on a pretty polluted backup planet.