Hawking's: Human race must move to Space or face extinction

Discussion in 'Soap Box' started by Mordeci, Aug 7, 2010.

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  1. Mordeci

    Mordeci Banned Member

    I don't think I agree with his premiss, let alone I am not even sure the technology exsits for a mass exodus that he seems to be propsing, but I think it is a good topic starter. From the article "Is the future of the human race in outer space? Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, in an interview with Big Think, warns that if humans can't find another planet to inhabit, they will face extinction.

    "We are entering an increasingly dangerous period in our history," Hawking says. "There have been a number of times in the past when survival has been a question of touch and go," like the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1963, and the frequency of such occasions "is likely to increase in the future."

    Because we are rapidly depleting the finite natural resources that Earth provides, and because our genetic code "carries selfish and aggressive instincts," our "only chance for longterm survival" may be to "spread out into space."

    But how do we get there? Scientists estimate that it would take roughly 50,000 years to make it to the nearest star, if we traveled using chemical-fuel rockets. To arrive within our life span, humans would need the technology to travel at near the speed of light and to remain shielded from cosmic radiation for the duration of the journey."

    Personally I agree that the earth was not desinged to cater to the human race for all eternity so a mass exodus is really the only answer (as science fictiony as that sounds), but I don't believe that time is coming anytime soon, besides as I mentioned before, I just don't think the technology is there for such a venture, but I could be wrong about that. Also on a unrelated observation Hawkins has really become obsessed with Aliens and the destruction of the human race over the past year or so, I am not sure what that means if anything, just an observation on his mental state.


    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/06/stephen-hawking-to-human_n_673387.html

    (note the article I posted has a video of him talking about the issue, if you are intreasted it is defintly worth looking at)
     
  2. Mystic

    Mystic Well-Known Member

    I agree with a lot of this, problem is planetary or stellar migration is way beyond any technology and there is every reason to think that "we" will make this planet uninhabitable for ourselves long before we are able to do make the journey to some other planet.
     
  3. Edgar Roni Figaro

    Edgar Roni Figaro Well-Known Member

    Well the big lie is that the technology is not there. The technology currently exists for us to create a lunar colony from which we can launch missions to Mars.

    The problem is the political and monetary system we exist in. Under our current system of capitalism, all technological progress is slowed or buried depending on which sector you are talking about.

    Corporations which rule the capitalist society have no desire to create technologically superior products or to advance technology at a faster rate as this would be incompatible with the bottom line which is profit. So under our current system corporations slow down the pace of technology and buy up all technological pattents that threaten their profit structure and bury them somewhere until the corporation can figure out how to profit from them.

    I also disagree with Hawking's belief that humans contain a genetic code for selfish and aggressive instincts. The debate is still ongoing as to environment vs genetics and if I had to take a an educated guess based on current scientific evidence I believe environment plays a much larger role in who we become than genetics ever will.

    The facts all exist right in front of us. Human children must be taught all of the evil's that exist in the world. Children must be taught to hate, to be distrustful of others, to accept things like genocide or religious fanaticism, the fact of the matter is, if we could take one single generation of children and teach them only altruistic
    beliefs and relay to them none of the prejudices that any of us as adults hold right now which we knowingly or unknowingly pass down to our children, we would create the first generation of totally enlightened human beings.

    The idea that selfish genes exist is a good excuse for humans not to change and just blame it on their genes. That kind of thinking is exactly what would lead us to leave earth for other planetary bodies based on the fear of our own capabilities toward each other.
     
  4. Mystic

    Mystic Well-Known Member

    Technology he refers to does not exist. The Moon and Mars is incapable of supporting human life. Any colony would be totally dependant on supplies from Earth. Journeys to exoplanets involving stellar distances would be impossible - assuming you even knew of a planet which could support life in the first place.

    I agree with the money thing, consumerism is ripping out the resources of this planet, but the human instinct for aggression, fanatism and hate is right on.

    Assuming we found another habitable planet and colonised it, how long before everthing else that makes mankind "bad" follows us out there? How long before divisions, wars and prejudices start?
     
  5. Issaccs

    Issaccs Well-Known Member

    Aye, at this point theirs no point at all towards colonising the moon or Mars, especially as an alternative to housing an overpopulation of humans.

    If we start with the first issue that is the lack of atmosphere and our lack of ability to produce one and the planets lack of ability to sustain one your already fucked.
    Further, neither could be used for the growing of crops, theirs ice on Mars but anything close to soil would most likely lack the nutrient required to sustain crops, which is again hypothetical cos their is no atmosphere for the basics of O2, CO2 and protection from radiation.
    Too even start that would require untold amounts of terraforming and bioengineering just to be able to plant.

    And then assuming you could feed a colony, then what, theirs no oil their, the metal would be useless as you couldn't transport or process it, all buildings would have to be prefabbed on Earth.

    Short of scientific hubris theirs no reason for colonisation in our solar system and no, we don't not yet have the tech yet to send even a handful of people in a generational vessel to our nearest neighbours.

    As for this nature/nurture crap, its kind of irrelevant, humans are not Utopians whatever you believe the cause is and when the shit hits the fan we'll look after our own at the expense of all others.
    Hobbes put it pretty well 500 years ago when he said
    "When all the world is overcharged with inhabitants, then the last remedy of all is war, which provideth for every man, by victory or death."

    Fortunately those evil capitalist corporations we're all so fond of spinning conspiracy about are doing a wonderful job of preventing that from happening through the advent of new technologies and while we're building Nuclear plants, battery farms, recycling and turning the Desert into a damn bread basket I have absolutely minimal concern about the fate of humanity in my lifetime and I'd hazard a guess, the next few millennia.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 7, 2010
  6. Stray

    Stray Account Closed

    It would be a good thing for the planet if we became extinct. We are a virus.
     
  7. Krem

    Krem Well-Known Member

    Eh-hehe.. Our little Stephen wants attention again, using sci-fi to lure in the media. It's almost cute. First aliens, which have the same problems as we do in regards to space-travel, and now this..

    No, we're not going to thrive on another planet in our solar system without constant use of powerful machinery. Which, by the way, would require lots and lots of energy. Going out to a habitable planet, however, would require lots and lots of time. So, grow our food in the space-ship, and have generators there. However, the amount of fuel needed would be immense, and on our way to the next habitable star system, there'd be nowhere near enough solar power to fuel anything. And we'd need to grow food, bind CO^2, oxygen, shields, life-support, lights, and so on.

    Also, our supplies will last for a few 100 years, if not thousands. We have "unlimited" water, "unlimited" power, and that's all we need to survive. Minerals, well.. We'd just wait for a meteor to come with some for us.

    He's laughing in his chair right now. Or, hrk, he would if he could.

    Do you know what a virus is? It's a tiny little critter which infects(impregnates) a cell, which then bursts out with lots of more viruses. A human is an animal, made up of lots of cells, and actually does things. Like grow plants, make books, watch movies, make war, make love, make music, build boats, fish, laugh, cry, and so on. Although you could be sayong that we are LIKE a virus, in that we only destroy, and leave nothing in our wake. Again, you're wrong. We certainly use lots of resources, but we also grow lots of resources. We're more like a fungus than a bacteria. Fungal-ant mixture, more like.

    But that's way off topic.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 7, 2010
  8. Edgar Roni Figaro

    Edgar Roni Figaro Well-Known Member

    "New plastic is strong as steel, transparent. By mimicking a brick-and-mortar molecular structure found in seashells, University of Michigan researchers created a composite plastic that's as strong as steel but lighter and transparent.

    It's made of layers of clay nanosheets and a water-soluble polymer that shares chemistry with white glue. - University of Michigan"

    I'm sorry to say this but Issaccs talking about growing plants in the soil of Mars just shows ignorance on the whole topic. If you do not even know that hydroponics and aeroponics have existed for decades and can grow around 10 times more food per square foot as conventional growing with nothing but a nutrient solution in water, how can you possibly say going to Mars isn't possible? You don't even know of basic technologies that already exist which eliminate problems you bring up based on vastly outdated ways of growing food. Maybe you should learn more about what you are talking about before saying something isn't possible.

    Solar power would give us all the energy we need for electrical power to operate machines on Mars.

    We could easily tap the polar ice caps of Mars for liquid water. We would first send compressed hydrogen and compressed oxygen both of which are not as heavy as water. Once we arrived on Mars we could combine them to create water.

    Oils would be manufactured from the crops that were grown hydroponically on Mars.

    With that we have food, energy, structures for housing, and water.

    We currently have new propulsion technology coming online including solar sails and ion propulsion which could cut the time it takes to reach Mars by as much as 75%.

    A space elevator could be created with the current technology which would be tethered to earth and have a huge counter weight in near earth orbit keeping it in place. Goods and materials would then be shipped through these elevators up to near earth orbit where they could quickly and easily be transported to the moon where they would be packaged and sent to Mars at a fraction of the cost that it would take to send from Earth with such little gravity on the moon.

    All of these technologies currently exist. It is simply the will of a nation like the USA to put them into practice.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 7, 2010
  9. Zurkhardo

    Zurkhardo Well-Known Member

    I think we should do more to apply this technology to saving this planet. Any endeavor into space would take considerable time and resources, not to mention put a drain on finances that could - presumably - be better spent here on Earth.
     
  10. Edgar Roni Figaro

    Edgar Roni Figaro Well-Known Member

    But you forget that the quicker we expand into space and use our technology, the sooner we can mine resources from space and thus lower the burden of human consumption hear on earth. Think of the earth as a limited resource and space as an unlimited one.

    We will be able to mine nearly all metals in space, and the exploration of space will yield newer and better ways of energy harnessing that will lead to less and less pollution on earth. The future of mankind is in space and everything space exploration brings with it will benefit everyone on earth.
     
  11. Hache

    Hache Well-Known Member

    In the words of Lee Evans

    "They reckon we should save the planet, save electricity and all that sort of stuff. Oh, yeah, I'm loving this shit they're coming out with! You got the Chinese bellowing out shit for coal-fired power stations, the Americans are driving about in 4x4 hummers, Las Vegas is lit up like a giant Christmas tree, but they reckon if I switch off this little standby button on my TV..."
     
  12. Stray

    Stray Account Closed

    Yes i know what a virus is..
     
  13. johnnysays

    johnnysays Well-Known Member

    We could go to mars with current technology (with all sorts of possibilities, especially if we don't send return trip fuel):
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Direct

    If we had a crash program to restart the Orion Program (here) we could travel to other stars. They shut that down because of nuclear proliferation (and fallout) fears even as the project leads discovered hydrogen bombs could decrease fallout dramatically and increase the propulsive force. If we had kept at it, maybe we would have even found cheaper methods to ignite the fusion chain reaction? (to further reduce the fallout) Since a lot of the project is still classified, how can we know for sure? In any case, we could build the spacecraft in space and avoid the fallout issue. All of these things would require 100's of billions of dollars. They'd be on a similar scale to the war on terrorism. It's unlikely to ever happen unless we had a threatening event occur that inspired the necessary investment.

    (keep in mind that reactors confine the nuclear chain reaction, which tempers it. a bomb does not seek to limit the reaction. that's why using bombs would be so effective if they were machine gunned behind the spacecraft to provide propulsion. a lot of alternative designs use reactors and this automatically reduces the effectiveness, but it reduces/avoids the fallout and bomb-related issues)

    A successor to Orion is this. First, it uses fusion and I am unsure whether the concept is even possible. In any case, it would have got us to Barnard's Star (5.9 light-years) within 50 years. One of the limiting factors is that it didn't come with onboard fuel to slow down. We now know that it's possible to slow down spacecraft using the gravity of stars and planets so onboard fuel may not be needed for that.

    A more practical approach that's further along is this. And here. I think they wanted to test it in 2011-12 on the space station.

    Here's another link about the VASIMR: VASIMR, Uranium Hydride Reactor, Direct Conversion of Heat or Radiation to Electricity
    I think he made an excellent point about selfishness and aggressiveness being in our dna. This is absolutely right according to evolutionary theory. It could be that on an overpopulated planet earth will become a dystopia in response to these negative traits. On the other hand, these traits have served us well in the past so maybe this is a good outcome. Perhaps selfishness and aggressiveness will be the driving force behind propelling humans underground or into space to escape worsening conditions (dystopia) here on earth?

    I don't think the key point is that quality of life will get worse. I think it will get better in response to better technology. Instead, the threat of global war (and potential annihilation) is higher. However, the chance for global governance will increase. So perhaps the danger of war will be thwarted by the increasingly powerful global governing body that will rule by law rather than by force.

    Maybe earth will become one of those towns that once thrived but now sits isolated and vacated... (everyone left)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 11, 2010
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