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Finally someone with the common sense to raise this direly important issue!


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Hawking says humans must go into space

HONG KONG - The survival of the human race depends on its ability to find new homes elsewhere in the universe because there's an increasing risk that a disaster will destroy the Earth, world-renowned scientist Stephen Hawking said Tuesday.

The British astrophysicist told a news conference in Hong Kong that humans could have a permanent base on the moon in 20 years and a colony on Mars in the next 40 years.

"We won't find anywhere as nice as Earth unless we go to another star system," added Hawking, who arrived to a rock star's welcome Monday. Tickets for his lecture planned for Wednesday were sold out.

He added that if humans can avoid killing themselves in the next 100 years, they should have space settlements that can continue without support from Earth.

"It is important for the human race to spread out into space for the survival of the species," Hawking said. "Life on Earth is at the ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers we have not yet thought of."

The 64-year-old scientist — author of the global best seller "A Brief History of Time" — is wheelchair-bound and communicates with the help of a computer because he suffers from a neurological disorder called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.

Hawking said he's teaming up with his daughter to write a children's book about the universe, aimed at the same age range as the

Harry Potter books.

"It is a story for children, which explains the wonders of the universe," his daughter, Lucy, added.

They didn't provide other details.

Nobody ever seems to want to talk about this issue. I have a theory as to why, but that's for later. After we debate the issue a little bit... >_>

This guy brings up a few very good points about this as well.

We're more likely to have that disastrous event be caused by nature than man. Geologically the earth is in the middle of cycles that include super-volcanoes & being hit by an asteroid or comet.

The exploration and inhabitation of other bodies in our solar system should be a world wide priority. It may even unite the world in a common cause. God knows we need one.

So, what are your thoughts on this?

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory...TC-RSSFeeds0312

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Space exploration is incredibly dangerous at present. We need to invest billions in new technologies before this is possible. I don't think we're going to see a solution within the next hundred years tha could allow for any sense of a mass exodus.

Where will we obtain the nitrogen and oxygen necessary for breathing? How will we live in a planet where the gravity is too high/low? How will we get to another solar system? This endeavour could take hundreds, maybe thousands of years before a viable method of extraterrestrial inhabitation is possible.

Magic!

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It's not a bad idea but I wouldn't say it's feasible. First of all, like Burb said, getting stuff into space takes resources we don't have. Keeping it alive in the short term (oxygen and food) takes resources we don't have. Keeping it alive in the long term (against asteroids, cosmic rays, wildly different gravity) takes technology we don't have.

I mean, I'm all for it. I want to live in space just as much as the next dude. If done right it's probably safer than living on Earth. But there's a lot of stuff that needs to be done to make it work.

The Scientific American recently published an article about how interstellar travel is currently impossible for humans. Cosmic radiation would make you die of cancer before you got halfway to Mars.

I don't think everyone's going to die in the next 100 years. And if we do, we deserved to. I'm all about supporting the future and such but if we all die, there's not much we can do in any case.

All things pass, even humanity. Albeit we're probably the most interesting species to live on this planet in quite some time (perhaps ever), we're going to die, eventually. That doesn't mean we should lay down and shoot ourselves, but we shouldn't have delusions that we're going to be around forever either.

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I think it's entirely possible to have the technology needed to do this within a hundred or two hundred years. Our level of technology has advanced immensely just in the past 100 years. I'll bet people that were around 150 years ago all thought it was impossible for giant metal constructs to fly through the air at incredible speeds, but today there are thousands of them in the sky at any moment. The only problem to be solved with interstellar travel is a propulsion system, the rest of the problems are minor in comparison.

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All things pass, even humanity. Albeit we're probably the most interesting species to live on this planet in quite some time (perhaps ever), we're going to die, eventually. That doesn't mean we should lay down and shoot ourselves, but we shouldn't have delusions that we're going to be around forever either.

I doubt we will achieve immortality as a species, but that's no reason to stop trying. We have to fool oursleves into believing that it can be done (and who knows, if there are multiple universes anything might be possible). We must reach beyond our grasp, in the slim hopes that it will matter and we will make it to infinity.

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Anywho, i think it would be cool, but as burb said, we don't have the resources or technology to make another planet or moon a suitalbe location for expansion.

I don't think resources is a problem. We have an entire solar system full of resources. We just need the technology to harvest and harness them.

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I think it's entirely possible to have the technology needed to do this within a hundred or two hundred years. Our level of technology has advanced immensely just in the past 100 years. I'll bet people that were around 150 years ago all thought it was impossible for giant metal constructs to fly through the air at incredible speeds, but today there are thousands of them in the sky at any moment. The only problem to be solved with interstellar travel is a propulsion system, the rest of the problems are minor in comparison.

Maybe, but I don’t think we will. Look at the last 30 years; since the USSR became lass of a threat (in the mid 70s) we have all but stopped developing hardware. Aircraft, tanks, and rockets have stayed more or less the same. The private sector has continued to develop smaller, faster, and more powerful computers, but although they will help, it will not be them that get us practical space travel. The way I see it, the only way that in 100-150 years from now we will be able to vacation on the moon is if we get into another “cold war” type space race with China or Europe.

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I don't think resources is a problem. We have an entire solar system full of resources. We just need the technology to harvest and harness them.

Where? This is just about the only planet we know of so far that has any. As far as we know there could be none. Right now we can't even reach far out in our own galaxy let alone get out of it in search of new ones. And if we could it would cost billions and would be a crap shoot to find another planet like our own. Most are gas ice or vast deserts. I'm not saying we shouldnt explore space. I'm just saying I don't believe we should ditch the attempt on saving earth. I mean maybe we should spend a little money fixing what we've ruined, or putting a little more effort into it.

I think it's entirely possible to have the technology needed to do this within a hundred or two hundred years. Our level of technology has advanced immensely just in the past 100 years. I'll bet people that were around 150 years ago all thought it was impossible for giant metal constructs to fly through the air at incredible speeds, but today there are thousands of them in the sky at any moment. The only problem to be solved with interstellar travel is a propulsion system, the rest of the problems are minor in comparison.

Also money for a space program. We don't seem to have much of that.

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The Swedes seem to say "Fuck all this shit, we're going ANYWAY." They're going to build a base on the moon with an excellent social program and easy-to-construct furniture.

And the problem with cosmic radiation OMGKILLINGALL is that it can be stopped like any other radioactive ray...

Did no one else hear the Ansari X prize has been won? Or that Virgin Galactic is selling tickets to their first orbits in 2007? Or of NASA's recent work on "soft-suit" technology?

I don't know about you, but I have hope for the human diasporia. And I aim to work for it...I have an appointment to meet some fellows at the moon landing site on July 12, 2100.

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Threats/Answers

Threat: Cosmic Radiation

Answer: Superconducting faraday cage around vessel, kept cool by the lack of temperature of hard vacuum itself. Keeps out the worst of it. Also should be noted that most of the moonwalkers have as yet failed to develop cancer. This is expensive, yes- but the cost is the only issue here, and it isn't a big one.

Threat: Vessel Homeostasis (oxygen, CO2 control, ect)

Answer: Technology already exists/in development for short and long-term use. How do you think astronauts stay abroad space stations like Mir, Alpha, or their predecessors for months a time? Holding their breathes?

Threat: Lack of resources for exploitation

Answer: Patently untrue. Lunar soil is mostly oxygenated silicates- Mars is abundant with CO2. Common factor: oxygen's involved. Only barrier is a more effective means of extracting it from the chemical pairings- but even that can be "solved" by simply making the majority of the colony base really an enormous farm of extractor factories. Water and others are also a matter of technical hurdles, not outright impossibility with even today's tech.

Threat: Lack of habitable gravity/temperature/ect

Answer: Similar to lack of resources: make it ourselves. Underground colonies; great, big atmosphere-controlled domes. Whatever it takes. Gravity'll always be a nuisance, but not a problem. It merely calls for a new way of living- ie: constant exercise, diet changes, ect.

Life outside of Earth will be haphazard and risky, but it isn't impossible, and, like our history on Earth, it'll get easier the longer we stay. Humanity may not necessarily deserve species immortality, but it is within our grasp. Maybe even within our own lifetimes (assuming, of course, that you're not already forty or fifty years old).

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Does humanity deserve immortality? Hell, I don't know, and neither do you.

Did Gilgamesh? Perhaps, perhaps not.

Like Gilgamesh, are we destined to strive for immortality, for the golden apple that is always just out of reach? As mortal beings, yes a hundred times over.

Humanity may be doomed, eventually. But that shouldn't stop you from trying. Perfection is and always has been out of reach...but *achieving* perfection is not the point. When you achieve perfection, you stagnate and die. The point is to reach ever after it and see how high you can go, how close you can get to holding the golden apple in your hand. Humanity as a whole has this charge as certainly as any of you: strive after perfection, but not to become perfect...only to become more than you were.

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Bah. Cockroaches've already effectively reached that state. Might as well have a species that knows what to do with it to take hold of it and try its hands at playing God.

An immortal species, and especially one with effectively unlimited power at its disposal, can never do more harm than it can do good. Lives lost, species eradicated, moons destroyed- all can be replaced or made ultimately a temporary status if we spread far enough and long enough and learn enough while we're at it. Death itself may even die.

Definitely something better than a mere cockroach can do.

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Bah. Cockroaches've already effectively reached that state. Might as well have a species that knows what to do with it to take hold of it and try its hands at playing God.

An immortal species, and especially one with effectively unlimited power at its disposal, can never do more harm than it can do good. Lives lost, species eradicated, moons destroyed- all can be replaced or made ultimately a temporary status if we spread far enough and long enough and learn enough while we're at it. Death itself may even die.

Definitely something better than a mere cockroach can do.

:happy:

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Bah. Cockroaches've already effectively reached that state. Might as well have a species that knows what to do with it to take hold of it and try its hands at playing God.

An immortal species, and especially one with effectively unlimited power at its disposal, can never do more harm than it can do good. Lives lost, species eradicated, moons destroyed- all can be replaced or made ultimately a temporary status if we spread far enough and long enough and learn enough while we're at it. Death itself may even die.

Definitely something better than a mere cockroach can do.

So I'm guessing you subscribe to the theory "Constant improvement will reach perfection?"

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Threats/Answers

Threat: Cosmic Radiation

Answer: Superconducting faraday cage around vessel, kept cool by the lack of temperature of hard vacuum itself. Keeps out the worst of it. Also should be noted that most of the moonwalkers have as yet failed to develop cancer. This is expensive, yes- but the cost is the only issue here, and it isn't a big one.

Threat: Lack of habitable gravity/temperature/ect

Answer: Similar to lack of resources: make it ourselves. Underground colonies; great, big atmosphere-controlled domes. Whatever it takes. Gravity'll always be a nuisance, but not a problem. It merely calls for a new way of living- ie: constant exercise, diet changes, ect.

What is a Faraday Cage?

As for the second one, I really don't see the reason. It's cool, yes, but is it needed? It would be an insane expenditure of resources.

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What is a Faraday Cage?

As for the second one, I really don't see the reason. It's cool, yes, but is it needed? It would be an insane expenditure of resources.

Faraday cage. Go read.

As for the second one, if you don't see the reason, please- for Eris's sake, read the very first post of this thread. Any colonization project will require a vast fortune to initiate and maintain, but the cost is damned cheap in comparison to the death of the human species.

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Faraday cage. Go read.

As for the second one, if you don't see the reason, please- for Eris's sake, read the very first post of this thread. Any colonization project will require a vast fortune to initiate and maintain, but the cost is damned cheap in comparison to the death of the human species.

It seems like the Faraday Cage would work, then. Previous ideas I've read before were either surrounding the ship in five meters of pressurized water on all sides (impossible, who's going to bring up all that water) to simulate the thickness in mass of the Earth's atmosphere (what keeps out most cosmic rays, anyway).

But, still. Colonization of space. I don't think it's a bad long term goal. In fact, it could be great, especially if it encourages international cooperation. But I don't think that if we wait fifty years or so to set up everything properly, i.e. we don't start RIGHT NOW everyone's going to die.

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