Saw all 3 this morning taking my kids to the dentist (around 6:30AM). Beautiful :)
A 6:30AM dentist appointment - ouch! It is cool, though. About 10 years ago I realized that I had never knowingly seen Mercury, but never planned ahead enough to go to a place with an unobstructed horizon. Then I finally did make such a plan - and it turns out I can see Mercury from my house right now anyway.
Doesn’t matter what we do, Earth will eventually be uninhabitable. At the latest when the sun burns out and boils off the oceans, and possibly much much sooner. The sooner we become an interplanetary species the better humanities long term survival . In terms of human lifespan, life on earth is the same as 70 year old person. We are 3.5 billion into 4.5 billion window where life as we know it exists. I don’t see dolphins much less cockroaches evolving to space going species in the next billion year.
The timescale for extinctions based on solar evolution is hundreds of millions of years. 100 million years ago, our ancestors looked like shrews. Humanity will not survive that long no matter what we do. We will (most likely) go extinct or (slight possibility) evolve into something or a multitude of somethings that aren’t human.
I feel like we have this weird cosmic notion of our importance. Like the universe conspired to create us so that it could know itself. There’s this noble, tragic sense of human destiny. Those notions are powerful, but illusory. In reality, we’re a byproduct of natural processes. The universe doesn’t need us or care about us. And the long-term fate of our species is entirely irrelevant to our lives now. If we wink out of existence, never having left our home, it won’t be tragic. There will be no one to mourn or regret it.
There are a few species that have been around 500 million years and dozen or so that have been around 100 million years. I don’t see any reason that humans couldn’t join this club.
But frankly, what worries me far more than either climate change or the Sun burning out is nuclear war. I feel pretty confident in humans ability to adapt to a few degrees of warming, and possibly even reverse it with technology. One of the side benefits of colonizing Mars is we have a giant lab to try some of the riskier technology fixes to climate change, without risking almost all of humanity.
But no matter how good a steward of the planet we become, I don’t see the risk of an all-out nuclear war ever going away. We did make good progress in the 80s and 90s and went from 45,000 warheads to 14,000. But even 14,000 warheads denotating have a good chance of making the planet uninhabitable. Even with sane intelligent leaders like Bush 41, and Gorbachev at the helm, there are simply too many close calls in the 60 years for me to think, there is ever less than 1/1000 per year of a nuclear war. A chance that goes up significantly when Trump and Putin are in charge. Add to those countries like China, India, Pakistan, and the crazies in the Middle East or North Korea and we have a serious risk. Humans have always used their weapons of war, and have never been 100% successful in banning them.
@Mak_Asher mention other possible ways of humanity dying out. Here on earth the species that are always most endangered and that often go extinct are ones that are perfectly adapted to a specific niche, while cockroaches and sponges that live everywhere are pretty much unkillable.
Mars is important step in turning humans into the cockroaches of the universe.
I think Gwynee may be the best COO in the world. Tesla would be so much better company, if Elon could clone Gwynee.
Given our current state of knowledge, there is a reasonable chance that we are the only intelligent life in the galaxy. I think it would be a tragedy if the only intelligent life in the galaxy self-destructed such a long way short of potential. Not having anyone left alive doesn’t make it less of a tragedy.
Please let me evolve into a higher lifeform.
This has to be one of the great images in space exploration.
Remember when we were all, “Did Mars ever have water?” and then it went to “When did Mars lose all its surface water?” and now…
Liquid water. We’ve known it has ice for centuries. It has ice caps, so pretty hard to miss.
I sort of think climate change is as if all the nuclear weapons are on a countdown timer to launch, and it’s going to take a concerted effort to shut them all off in time. In other words nuclear war is definitely worrisome, but at least we’re in a non-terminal stalemate. That makes climate change a bigger issue demanding action.
There’s no future on Mars for us, it is uninhabitable. But if Big Brother the TV series can fund a colony, I’m all for it.
Why is Mars red? Because of rust. So there’s no escaping rust by going to Mars.
I really disagree, especially on the day after our chances of nuclear war just increased exponentially. The end of the Trump Putin bromance, followed by one of the numerous false alarms, simulations that were confused with the real thing, or some trigger-happy American or Russia pilot, or naval officer and its game over. There is no Jim Mattis to talk Trump down
I think there is a decent chance of technology solutions to climate change such as those proposed[Nathan Myhrvold](http:// Nathan Myhrvold), (I was a number of meeting with Nathan back in the day, and the guy is a genius). Since we’ll be doing pretty much the opposite of this on Mars, it would be really helpful to conduct the experiments on Mars first. But more likely we will muddle through by adapting like we always do.
I would support a “Keeping up with the Kardashians on Mars” show too.
Really nice video from Richard Branson
It’s amazing and sad to me that there are people who will watch that and be 100% convinced that it’s fake. Why they would make this, they don’t care, they just know the earth is flat and are impervious to the proof they are wrong.
The strangest thing is that people think that a secret that big could be kept by the thousands of people involved in it.
At this point the number of people who have been involved in something related to space would be in the millions. And yet every single one is keeping the secret, apparently.
I didn’t even know this was happening now. I thought it was still a couple of years off. This is pretty exciting!