It is exciting to see China enter the space race and for the
US to propose new ventures to the moon and Mars. Yet there
is a lack of vision behind human space projects which has
prevented sustained support and progress.
We have a motivating purpose behind a sustained drive into
space: the purpose of space research should be to secure human
destiny by moving off Earth, beyond our solar system, and into
It's clear large portions of life on earth have been destroyed
by meteorite strikes and possibly even gamma ray bursts from dying
stars. Our sun, too, will die taking our solar system and
all life with it.
Life has always bounced back. Humans may not. Humans are at
the top of the food chain which means we will be the most impacted
by an earth or solar system wide calamity.
What will save humanity is our intelligence. Our intelligence,
however, must be applied.
It sounds silly to worry about a dying sun, that is so far
away. In millions of years surely we'll have the technology
to save ourselves. But there are no guarantees. Nothing happens
without having a goal, creating a plan, and taking action.
A man and a woman can stand side by side for millions of
years and still not have any children. Having children
requires taking a certain kind of action. We can't rely
on just luck or time.
It sounds less silly to worry about meteorites and gamma
ray bursts because they have already happened and will happen
again. That humanity has not already been destroyed is
random chance in a lottery only recently have we
understood we are playing.
Adrian L. Melott, a University of Kansas astronomer, said:
"You can expect a dangerous gamma ray burst every few hundred
million years," It could happen tomorrow or it could be
millions of years."
We are not yet taking steps to save ourselves.
As humans we need to take the next logical steps
and make sure we can survive problems we know will happen.
It would be a shame to have come this far for nothing.
So, what does this all mean?
* We should come up with a list of potential threats to humanity.
* We should come up with plans to meet those threats.
* NASA and other space agencies should be retasked with this goal in mind.
* The UN should facilitate the space efforts of all countries into one earth wide effort with the common goal of securing human destiny.
This proposal is not meant to be thousands of pages on potential threats
and solution plans. There are many smart people who can tackle these
problems. Rather, this proposal is meant to provide simple
and clear reasons for why space exploration is necessary and
what our priorities should be in the future.
Some useful links:
* Extinction Level Events (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extinction_event)
* Theory: Sun Radiation Caused Extinction (http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2004/1/7/231029.shtml)
* BBC Mass Extinctions Introduction (http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/darwin/exfiles/massintro.htm)