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Stephen Hawkings on the urgency of space colonisation

PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 8:19 pm
by RickLewis
Stephen Hawkings says humans need to colonize space within the next century or face probably extinction.

Recording and full comment by Hawkings here:

http://bigthink.com/ideas/21691

Stephen Hawking: I believe that the long term future of the human race must be in space. It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster on planet Earth in the next hundred years, let alone the next thousand, or million. The human race shouldn't have all its eggs in one basket, or on one planet. Let's hope we can avoid dropping the basket until we have spread the load.

I see great dangers for the human race. There have been a number of times in the past when its survival has been a question of touch and go. The Cuban missile crisis in 1963 was one of these. The frequency of such occasions is likely to increase in the future. We shall need great care and judgment to negotiate them all successfully. But I'm an optimist. If we can avoid disaster for the next two centuries, our species should be safe, as we spread into space.

If we are the only intelligent beings in the galaxy, we should make sure we survive and continue. But we are entering an increasingly dangerous period of our history. Our population and our use of the finite resources of planet Earth, are growing exponentially, along with our technical ability to change the environment for good or ill. But our genetic code still carries the selfish and aggressive instincts that were of survival advantage in the past. It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster in the next hundred years, let alone the next thousand or million. Our only chance of long term survival, is not to remain inward looking on planet Earth, but to spread out into space. We have made remarkable progress in the last hundred years. But if we want to continue beyond the next hundred years, our future is in space. That is why I'm in favor of manned, or should I say "personed," space flight.

Re: Stephen Hawkings on the urgency of space colonisation

PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:10 pm
by i blame blame
We don't currently have the means to establish colonies that don't require resources from earth. Until we have that, it's more useful to focus efforts of preserving the blue marble. We could start and try to terraform Mars by melting the polar caps with giant mirrors orbiting the Lagrange points and and seeding the planet with oxygen-producing bacteria. It would all still take a shitload of time and monies. The bacteria idea is also problematic because many have still not given up on searching for indigenous Martian life, which would be contaminated by our bacteria.

Re: Stephen Hawkings on the urgency of space colonisation

PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 7:55 pm
by JamesG
sigh....
:roll:

Re: Stephen Hawkings on the urgency of space colonisation

PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 11:09 pm
by Intranaut
What James means to say is:
viewtopic.php?f=24&t=150

Re: Stephen Hawkings on the urgency of space colonisation

PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 11:15 pm
by RickLewis
i blame blame wrote:We don't currently have the means to establish colonies that don't require resources from earth. Until we have that, it's more useful to focus efforts of preserving the blue marble. We could start and try to terraform Mars by melting the polar caps with giant mirrors orbiting the Lagrange points and and seeding the planet with oxygen-producing bacteria. It would all still take a shitload of time and monies. The bacteria idea is also problematic because many have still not given up on searching for indigenous Martian life, which would be contaminated by our bacteria.

Hello! It's good to see you here, as indeed it always is on the other forum.

James' sigh, in case you were wondering, is because he is a huge sceptic about the whole idea of terraforming Mars,and we've been discussing that at length in another thread here:

viewtopic.php?f=24&t=150

I haven't heard your suggestion about melting the icecaps with space mirrors before. I quite like that, though those mirrors would presumably have to be quite vast! However big they are, the idea won't satisfy James, whose objection is that any enhanced Martian atmosphere will leak away into space as soon as it is created. He might be right, but I think it's also possible that the leak would be too slow to matter. Anyway, do take a look at that other thread if you get a chance!

Re: Stephen Hawkings on the urgency of space colonisation

PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 11:16 pm
by RickLewis
Intranaut wrote:What James means to say is:
viewtopic.php?f=24&t=150

Ah, you beat me to it! :)

Re: Stephen Hawkings on the urgency of space colonisation

PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 11:18 pm
by JamesG
I was trying to be subtle and not slam on the new guy.

Re: Stephen Hawkings on the urgency of space colonisation

PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 11:19 pm
by Intranaut
:D

Re: Stephen Hawkings on the urgency of space colonisation

PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 9:52 am
by Darth Kevin
If theres going to be a disaster on Earth I don't think space colonies will avert that. They won't reduce the population on the Earth much, for instance - population growth here is on a different scale altogether to any emigration to space colonies. Space colonization would be more like an insurance policy, no more than that.

Re: Stephen Hawkings on the urgency of space colonisation

PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 4:16 pm
by JamesG
It can't/won't be the primary motivator for an off-Earth population. Just a side benefit or contingency.