“Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one cannot live in a cradle forever.” – Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky 1911
The next fifty years will decide the future- and our actions, as well as our inactions, will reverberate through all time.
Think about that for a moment. The universe is over thirteen billion years old and what we do in the next fifty years may well have a greater impact than anything that has ever happened up until now or ever will happen again.
We are at a pivotal moment, not just for humanity but for life itself. At the very least, the only event that can match becoming a spacefaring life form is the very first life to evolve out of the primordial mud. If the unlikely is true and Earth is the singular cradle for life in the universe… then the only event that can match our move to space is the Big Bang itself.
The Big Bang, life evolving and our diaspora to the stars- everything else before and after will be footnotes.
Limiting our view to what going to space can do for Earth is as nonsensical as asking what Earth’s entire biosphere could ever do for that one little tidal pool where the first life form came into being almost four billion years ago.
Going to space won’t be important because it can give Earth abundant, cheap and clean energy… but it will.
It won’t be important because it can deliver strategic rare earth elements that are scarce down here, alleviating many of the driving forces for resource wars… even though it can do that to.
Accessing the 98% of our solar systems assets for use on on Earth won’t be important because it can step over the unreasoning terrors of the Malthusian Catastrophists and allow the developed world to retain its standard of living while lifting billions of people out of poverty and war to join them… although it will be a wonderful side effect.
Deflecting a Torino 10 asteroid impact may save every human on Earth… but that is just holding off the inevitable if we don’t become a spacefaring species.
Even though it will be wonderful, it won’t be important that it can fulfil the dreams of millions of people and inspire millions more to dream bigger and achieve more than they ever imagined possible.
It also won’t be important because it can create trillion dollar companies that will pull the economy back up from the economic morass that government debt has us sinking into… even though the world’s first trillionaire won’t be made on our “world”.
Going to space will be important for the hundreds of billions of our descendants that will grow to fill our solar system and eventually the stars. As important as going to space will be in the short term for a few billion people on Earth- if we become a spacefaring species, Earth will be called home for only a tiny fraction of humanity.
We have the opportunity to influence how that begins. Does it begin in a spirit of adventure and peace? Does it begin with distrust, fear and war? Is it stifled with totalitarian control or will freedom grab the first hold? We have the chance now to directly effect how it starts- not “we” as in the government or humanity as a whole, I mean you the person who is reading this and I who am writing it.
Or will you turn our back on the Universe and try to make yourself comfortable in the cradle – hoping that someone else will do it and that it will turn out alright?