Recently, Professor Stephen Hawking has said that mankind will need to venture far beyond Earth’s boundaries to ensure the long-term survival of the human race.
Hawking, adding “Disasters such as an asteroid collision could wipe us all out. Once we spread out into space and establish independent colonies, our future should be safe. There isn’t anywhere like the Earth in the solar system, so we would have to go to another star.”
At that is the problem. Even with the best Ion drives, it’d still take us years to get to the nearest planet; too long to be even considered practical.
But the task of conquering space is huge. Phenomenally huge. Space is a very, very big place. There are no warp drives, and no anti-matter drives. We may have conquered space, but we haven’t touched on how to solve the lack of gravity and its decaying effects on the human body.
And then there’s the money issue. Is the money better spent here on Earth sorting out problems such as disease, HIV, AIDS and poverty, or is it better spent on sending human-less rockets out to space? Would it be not easier to control population and spend the money elsewhere?
The thing I get with these arguments is that, regardless if you go back 5 years or 10, the problems of disease, poverty, crime are still there and they will always be there in the foreseeable future. Space represents the human spirit, and that’s why it means a great deal to a great deal of people; it represents the very best in all humans. It might sound a bit of arrogance on our part, and perhaps it is. But isn’t it worth trying?
Personally, in my opinion if we take a long term view then space is definitely worth it. The benefits far outweigh the initial costs, however expensive they are. Space is not a short-cut, small term thing but neither are the challenges that it presents.
“If we used chemical fuel rockets like the Apollo mission to the moon, the journey would take 50,000 years.” said Hawking, adding “This is obviously far too long to be practical, so science fiction has developed the idea of warp drive, which takes you instantly to your destination. Unfortunately, this would violate the scientific law which says that nothing can travel faster than light.”
Space is worth it.