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Can’t Argue With That

Hey, who am I to argue with a genius? Hawking: Humans must colonize other planets

“Sooner or later disasters such as an asteroid collision or a nuclear war could wipe us all out,” said Professor Hawking, who was crippled by a muscle disease at the age of 21 and who speaks through a computerized voice synthesizer.

“But once we spread out into space and establish independent colonies, our future should be safe,” said Hawking, who was due to receive the world’s oldest award for scientific achievement, the Copley medal, from Britain’s Royal Society on Thursday.

The Copley medal in question, it turns out, flew aboard STA-121.

I don’t see it mentioned in this article, but the radio news accounts said that Hawking’s comments focused on Earth-like planets as additional homes for humanity. I will take issue with that — it’s so limiting to require Earth-like planets, when there’s no guarantee that we’ll ever find any. And it’s exceedingly unlikely that we’ll find any in move-in condition…Earth-like conditions with existing, earthlife-compatible indigenous life (be it merely bacterial, or some combination of plants, animals, or other).

If you’re going to have to terraform even barren worlds with Earth-like parameters, how is that so much different from developing Mars-like planets as well? Why be so picky?

In fact, there just happens to be a Mars-like planet nearby, which wouldn’t require anti-matter rockets or tens of thousands of years to reach…

And for that matter, there are plenty of asteroids and moons in the universe, not to mention the infinite possible variations on O’Neillian space settlements. Settling Earth-like planets isn’t the only way to preserve the species.

1 comment to Can’t Argue With That

  • And for that matter, there are plenty of asteroids and moons in the universe, not to mention the infinite possible variations on O’Neillian space settlements. Settling Earth-like planets isn’t the only way to preserve the species

    In the long run having a terrestrial planet is the way to bet. If everything goes wrong – the local inhabitants loose all of their technology or there is a system-wide catastrophe – at the end of the day having a place where you can breathe and breed without any kind of technology serves as the ultimate backup.

    Which is one of the reasons to go, yes?

    I’m not saying that we should concentrate on just terrestrial-like worlds, just that having a few of those around serves the purpose of species backup well.