In anticipation of receiving the Copley medal from Britain’s Royal Society, revered cosmologist Stephen Hawking granted a rare interview this week. He told BBC that “humans must colonize other planets.” That statement generated headlines around the planet. His arguments are sound and you can read them on http://www.cnn.com/ in a story CNN picked up from Reuters.

Before anyone runs out and suggests that Hawking’s position in anyway supports the current NASA / administration view that one nation-state, the US of A, is wise to spend the resources necessary to put humans back on the Moon and then on Mars, let us get four things straight:

1. Hawking correctly points out that eventually an asteroid, nuclear war or some other event (and in the long term the natural life cycle of our Sun) will make Earth uninhabitable. With this position, no scientist disagrees. Every major religion has an escape clause for those who believe in that particular faith, the rest just burn up.

2. Hawking also notes that to get to the nearest potentially habitable planet it would take 50,000 years with current technology. See Fundamental Thesis Nine (No Exit) in Chapter 1 Box 1 and Chapter 23 on sustainability including Chapter 23 Box 1 No Exit in “The Shape of the Future.”

3. Before humans go back to the Moon, we need technology that will get us there in 30 minutes. If humans can develop that technology it will be done here on Earth, not on the Moon or on Mars. This is especially true when the rationale given by the administration to go there is to exploit material resources on these nearby bodies.

4. There is an even bigger issue:

Before US of A taxpayers, or everyone on the planet, expend vast resources to insure survival of the humans species, citizens need to prove they can efficiently and sustainablely manage our activity on Earth. The Earth is the only known planet where human survival is possible under current conditions. Without a sustainable trajectory for civilization, going to Mars and beyond would just be exporting chaos.

Evolving functional and sustainable human settlement patterns here on Earth is a first step. It is still possible if governments, institutions and enterprises would stop distorting the market and the environment for short-term profit.


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8 responses to “HAWKING THE FUTURE”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    I just heard that Governor Kaine and Senator Chichester have scheduled a press conference early next week to announce their joint plan to raise taxes in Virginia to build infrastructure on the Moon.

  2. Gold_h2o Avatar

    “humans must colonize other planets.”

    Wow. Talk about sprawl.

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    The need to build infrastructure in, and connect to, those “very remote” communities is why we need the tax increases!!!

  4. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    checking the calendar…. noooo .. it’s not April 1….

    boy that Hawkins kid..(yeah I know he’s 60-something) he’s got QUITE an imagination .. doesn’t he? 🙂

  5. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    checking the calendar…. noooo .. it’s not April 1….

    boy that Hawkins kid..(yeah I know he’s 60-something) he’s got QUITE an imagination .. doesn’t he? 🙂

  6. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    It’s not a problem for my lifetime. We live like most Europeans in 1493. Maybe we heard about something that may be very big, but it will take time to develop into something very, very big. And, it will effect, primarily, those that travel to this new place, not the masses that stay behind.

    Hawkings key assumption that the speed of light can’t be broken will be a given for the sci fi book, my second fiction work, I will start cranking in Jan.

  7. Ray Hyde Avatar

    Some people worry too much. Whether the planet continues or not, you and I won’t.

    When our species dies out it won’t be a tragedy, and we won’t be the first to endure such a fate.

    In the meantime, live well and happily, with grace and understanding.

    How does that prayer go? Lord, Give me the courage to change that which is wrong, the patience to accept what cannot be changed, and give me the wisdom to know the difference.

  8. Anonymous Avatar

    Didn’t Hawkings have an affair (?) with the wife of the guy who built him that special wheelchair?

    Now that’s gratitude.

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