After Earth: Where Will Humanity Go?

5efc3c27f081463e8c9e31fd93d45164If and when Earth is no longer able to sustain human life, where should we go? NASA says that a colony could be dug several feet below the surface of our moon (with a cover to protect residents from high-energy cosmic radiation, which can damage our DNA and lead to cancer).

Or we could head for the resource-rich moons of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Mars is very Earth-like, with enough carbon in its soil to grow plants, and daytime temperatures that reach 70°F. And that’s only the start of our options. Popular Science explores:

Earth won’t always be fit for occupation. We know that in two billion years or so, an expanding sun will boil away our oceans, leaving our home in the universe uninhabitable—unless, that is, we haven’t already been wiped out by the Andromeda galaxy, which is on a multibillion-year collision course with our Milky Way. Moreover, at least a third of the thousand mile-wide asteroids that hurtle across our orbital path will eventually crash into us, at a rate of about one every 300,000 years.

Indeed, in 1989 a far smaller asteroid, the impact of which would still have been equivalent in force to 1,000 nuclear bombs, crossed our orbit just six hours after Earth had passed. A recent report by the Lifeboat Foundation, whose hundreds of researchers track a dozen different existential risks to humanity, likens that one-in-300,000 chance of a catastrophic strike to a game of Russian roulette: “If we keep pulling the trigger long enough we’ll blow our head off, and there’s no guarantee it won’t be the next pull.”

Many of the threats that might lead us to consider off-Earth living arrangements are actually man-made, and not necessarily in the distant future. The amount we consume each year already far outstrips what our planet can sustain, and the World Wildlife Fund estimates that by 2030 we will be consuming two planets’ worth of natural resources annually.

None of the threats we face are especially far-fetched. Climate change is already a major factor in human affairs, for instance, and our planet has undergone at least one previous mass extinction as a result of asteroid impact. “The dinosaurs died out because they were too stupid to build an adequate spacefaring civilization,” says Tihamer Toth-Fejel, a research engineer at the Advanced Information Systems division of defense contractor General Dynamics. “So far, the difference between us and them is barely measurable.”

Read the rest at Popular Science

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  • http://www.facebook.com/jason.wilczak Jason Wilczak

    We need to embrace globalism to make this work!  http://temporalrelativity.blogspot.com

    • EnlightenedOne

      Yes, globalism in the sense that people all around the world come together for a common cause. The corporate structure of globalism today represents one world government and corporate fascism. No one who believes in freedom or liberty would want that type of globalism. We need people to embrace a higher consciousness, understand what we are really capable of, and disseminate valuable information quickly and efficiently without suppression. We also need people to understand what we really are. Much more than just star dust, we are cognitive entity’s that have the unabated ability to manipulate the universe. In this capacity,  we take the larger form of the universe itself. Just go outside and pick up some dirt, throw it in the air. It would seem to be a trivial and pointless task, right? Wrong, you and the dirt are made up of the same “stuff,” yet the dirt does not possess the ability to throw you. Look at any random creature, examine their movements and actions. They can manipulate the universe on some scale as we do. What’s missing is their cognitive consciousness asking “why can I do this?” Once you start to realize you ARE the universe realizing itself, and you have the ability to manipulate yourself. We can finally move on to bigger and brighter things..

      • Anarchy Pony

        That must be some good shit you are smoking.

        • EnlightenedOne

          It’s amazing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jason.wilczak Jason Wilczak

    We need to embrace globalism to make this work!  http://temporalrelativity.blogspot.com

  • Yith

    See

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_High_Frontier:_Human_Colonies_in_Space

    and here is a nifty image that says it all:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bernal_Sphere_3.jpeg

    But that’s a long, long time away… when space travel is cheap, routine, and safe.

    • Yith

      And here’s an animated version I just discovered on youtube:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPj4yudCdMY&feature=related

    • Anarchy Pony

      So never?

      • Yith

        I would deem it `relatively safe’ and `routine’ when out 1,000 consecutive UNMANNED flights, no serious problems are observed (no software glitches, engine failures) and when radiation levels in the ship can be kept within acceptable (for humans) ranges.  Once that stage is reached, we can start talking about sending humans on trips to the moon and to the Lagrange points.  Alternatively, we (the human race) can wait until space elevators are built… which will be some day.

        • Anarchy Pony

          Except manned space craft are thousands of times more complex with vastly more delicate and various life support systems as well as increased internal space, and mass that comes with it and the drastically more radiation protection. And in all likelihood humanity isn’t going to make it to 2100. So good luck with all this. 
          Even if that crap becomes viable, only wealthy first world nations and people with access to very high education will be able to take advantage. So most of the rest of us or our descendants will just get left to die fighting over the wasteland that global industrial civilization has left behind for us. And there is no way you could use space travel to alleviate population problems, it is an incredibly bottle necked enterprise. 

          • Yith

             “Except manned space craft are thousands of times more complex with
            vastly more delicate and various life support systems as well as
            increased internal space, and mass that comes with it and the
            drastically more radiation protection.” 

            There’s no reason why we can’t add these in to test the system.  Isn’t this part of what the Enos test was all about?  

            Unmanned missions (in the future, using robots) could serve multiple purposes, such as to repair satellites, clean up space debris, CHECK THAT THE LIFE-SUPPORT SYSTEMS WORK (for future manned missions), etc. etc.  I’m not talking here about putting humans on the moon in the next 30 years; my horizon is more like the year 2100 or even beyond… when most of the bugs have been worked out.

            “And in all likelihood humanity isn’t going to make it to 2100.”

            I’m more optimistic.  And I don’t see space travel as a way to alleviate population problems.  Never did.   To me it’s mostly about “not putting all your eggs in one basket” (and the purely selfish [if I’m alive then] “ZOMG! I’m living in outer space!”).

  • Yith

    See

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_High_Frontier:_Human_Colonies_in_Space

    and here is a nifty image that says it all:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bernal_Sphere_3.jpeg

    But that’s a long, long time away… when space travel is cheap, routine, and safe.

  • Yith

    And here’s an animated version I just discovered on youtube:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPj4yudCdMY&feature=related

  • EnlightenedOne

    Yes, globalism in the sense that people all around the world come together for a common cause. The corporate structure of globalism today represents one world government and corporate fascism. No one who believes in freedom or liberty would want that type of globalism. We need people to embrace a higher consciousness, understand what we are really capable of, and disseminate valuable information quickly and efficiently without suppression. We also need people to understand what we really are. Much more than just star dust, we are cognitive entity’s that have the unabated ability to manipulate the universe. In this capacity,  we take the larger form of the universe itself. Just go outside and pick up some dirt, throw it in the air. It would seem to be a trivial and pointless task, right? Wrong, you and the dirt are made up of the same “stuff,” yet the dirt does not possess the ability to throw you. Look at any random creature, examine their movements and actions. They can manipulate the universe on some scale as we do. What’s missing is their cognitive consciousness asking “why can I do this?” Once you start to realize you ARE the universe realizing itself, and you have the ability to manipulate yourself. We can finally move on to bigger and brighter things..

  • Wanooski

    So never?

  • Anarchy Pony

    Wow, you pukes just eat up the myth of progress don’t you?

  • Wanooski

    Wow, you pukes just eat up the myth of progress don’t you?

  • Redacted

    Why not just strap a giant rocket onto the planet itself so we can bring Earth along on our happy happy strip mining spree?

  • Anonymous

    Why not just strap a giant rocket onto the planet itself so we can bring Earth along on our happy happy strip mining spree?

  • Yith

    I would deem it `relatively safe’ and `routine’ when out 1,000 consecutive UNMANNED flights, no serious problems are observed (no software glitches, engine failures) and when radiation levels in the ship can be kept within acceptable (for humans) ranges.  Once that stage is reached, we can start talking about sending humans on trips to the moon and to the Lagrange points.  Alternatively, we (the human race) can wait until space elevators are built… which will be some day.

  • MadHierophant

    Humans should worry about making Earth work first. Who cares where we go if we’re collectively too stupid, ignorant and greedy to avoid fucking up the new place? 

    • SpaceDinosaur

      Earth will probably never work.  It doesn’t make any sense to damn future generations because we’re too stupid to get our shit together.

    • Sirius Fnord

      A wise comment. However Earth is but our nursery planet. Soon enough it will be the wild west land grab all over again but in space.

      The time is fast approaching when our access to information will  wash away the false masks of  society.

      The Future is then, now and later in an inconceivable loop.   Be good to yourself and then spread that goodness around.  Be GOD to yourself. 

  • Anonymous

    Humans should worry about making Earth work first. Who cares where we go if we’re collectively too stupid, ignorant and greedy to avoid fucking up the new place? 

  • Wanooski

    Except manned space craft are thousands of times more complex with vastly more delicate and various life support systems as well as increased internal space, and mass that comes with it and the drastically more radiation protection. And in all likelihood humanity isn’t going to make it to 2100. So good luck with all this. 
    Even if that crap becomes viable, only wealthy first world nations and people with access to very high education will be able to take advantage. So most of the rest of us or our descendants will just get left to die fighting over the wasteland that global industrial civilization has left behind for us. And there is no way you could use space travel to alleviate population problems, it is an incredibly bottle necked enterprise. 

  • Wanooski

    That must be some good shit you are smoking.

  • EnlightenedOne

    It’s amazing.

  • Yith

     “Except manned space craft are thousands of times more complex with
    vastly more delicate and various life support systems as well as
    increased internal space, and mass that comes with it and the
    drastically more radiation protection.” 

    There’s no reason why we can’t add these in to test the system.  Isn’t this part of what the Enos test was all about?  

    Unmanned missions (in the future, using robots) could serve multiple purposes, such as to repair satellites, clean up space debris, CHECK THAT THE LIFE-SUPPORT SYSTEMS WORK (for future manned missions), etc. etc.  I’m not talking here about putting humans on the moon in the next 30 years; my horizon is more like the year 2100 or even beyond… when most of the bugs have been worked out.

    “And in all likelihood humanity isn’t going to make it to 2100.”

    I’m more optimistic.  And I don’t see space travel as a way to alleviate population problems.  Never did.   To me it’s mostly about “not putting all your eggs in one basket” (and the purely selfish [if I’m alive then] “ZOMG! I’m living in outer space!”).

  • http://strictlyapathy.comoj.com/ SoulArbiter

    Even if we do find another planet to sustain us, we’ll probably just destroy that planet, too. If our species survives long enough for interstellar travel and colonisation.

  • http://strictlyapathy.comoj.com SoulArbiter

    Even if we do find another planet to sustain us, we’ll probably just destroy that planet, too. If our species survives long enough for interstellar travel and colonisation.

  • SpaceDinosaur

    Earth will probably never work.  It doesn’t make any sense to damn future generations because we’re too stupid to get our shit together.

  • tooCents

    Space is too vast. Planets are teeny tiny little nearly invisible specks of gas and rock virtually all of which are toxic spheres of poison (inhospitable to life) spinning around radioactive fireballs that are in clumps of hundreds of millions more fireballs (galaxies) in an otherwise almost frozen pitch black void.

    People aren’t going anywhere or at least not to another habitable planet -unless just about everything scientists know about the Universe is wrong. 

  • Anonymous

    Space is too vast. Planets are teeny tiny little nearly invisible specks of gas and rock virtually all of which are toxic spheres of poison (inhospitable to life) spinning around radioactive fireballs that are in clumps of hundreds of millions more fireballs (galaxies) in an otherwise almost frozen pitch black void.

    People aren’t going anywhere or at least not to another habitable planet -unless just about everything scientists know about the Universe is wrong. 

  • Sirius Fnord

    A wise comment. However Earth is but our nursery planet. Soon enough it will be the wild west land grab all over again but in space.

    The time is fast approaching when our access to information will  wash away the false masks of  society.

    The Future is then, now and later in an inconceivable loop.   Be good to yourself and then spread that goodness around.  Be GOD to yourself. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/rfhurley Robert Hurley

    Earth used to be pretty earth-like, too….

  • http://www.facebook.com/rfhurley Robert Hurley

    Earth used to be pretty earth-like, too….

  • jasonpaulhayes

    Anywhere we can go that doesn’t equal an occupation of foreign territory, that’s where we should go.

  • http://twitter.com/jasonpaulhayes jasonpaulhayes

    Anywhere we can go that doesn’t equal an occupation of foreign territory, that’s where we should go.

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