Friday, October 07, 2005

The Solution

Last week, I posted about the world-wide problems that confront the human race now, and even more so, in the future. If we do not confront the issues of overpopulation and consumption of resources, one of two things is going to happen eventually.

1. Nature will balance its books one way or another. Disease, natural disasters, and/or a giant meteor will wipe out most if not all of the human race. If and when this happens, the world will be restored to its relatively balanced self in 10,000 years and all will be fine on Earth and there will be no more humans.

2. The human race will beat nature to the punch and destroy itself in nuclear holocaust.

So, when I hear solutions like "tax incentives" (sorry Erik) or anti-poverty programs I sadly shake my head because I realize that most humans are too self-centered to see big picture problems and big picture solutions.

The answer's up there
Look upwards, not at the birds, or the airplanes or the clouds. Look at the universe. It's really, really big. It's loaded with solar energy and hydrogen. Ultimately, the answers to all of humankind's major problems are in outer space. Solar collectors can be installed and provide all the clean energy we could ever want. Hydroponic farms in space stations can produce food in abundance. The Moon has as much real estate as planet Earth and there's Mars as well. Why not live there? Does this all sound like science fiction? Yes, I'm afraid it is but it doesn't have to be.

So why are we not colonizing space?
Unfortunately, we keep these ideas in the realm of science fiction because most of us don't really believe it can be done. Also, even if it can be done, too many of us feel that there are too many earthbound problems to deal with before we go to space. Yet another problem for most people is that we won't see space exploration realize the promise it can offer for many, many, years, perhaps, not even in our lifetimes.

This saddens me as I realize more and more, that we are too short-sighted to survive. We are always going to have domestic problems. The economy will never be good enough. We always find an excuse to not fulfill what should be our destiny of leaping from our planetary cradle. In other words, we are too self-centered and when it all comes down to it, we really care more about our individual lives than we do for our children and their children.

For me, this is the issue of our time. I look to any leader with the courage to restart the space program that Kennedy started over 40 years ago. We need to start now and we need to realize that we need to stay committed to it. I like President Bush's proposal of going back to the Moon and to Mars. I'd like to believe we will stay the course and take the baby steps needed in order to get our foothold in space. Let's do it, not for ourselves but for our children's children's children. (Thank you, Moody Blues)


Erik said...

Colonizing space I don't feel is realistic. How many planets out there have our atmosphere?

Robert E Wilson said...

Actually, the best colonization candidates are the Moon which has no atmosphere and Mars which has a very thin atmosphere. It has already been demonstrated that domes or underground cities can be built with oxygen being derived from local raw materials.