I have decided to start dating the blogs to admit to the few of you who read these pages how dilatory I really am in my efforts to save the human race, an perhaps sell a few books in the process. There aren’t many of us with unmixed motives, and mine aren’t much purer than the average.
I finally have my book, Moon Life, up on Amazon in something like the form I thought it would take. The conception is always greater than the reality, of course, but it turned out close to as good as I could make it in a reasonable time, so I am happy with it. If it does ok, there are another three behind it. These are exiting times for planetary science and it isn’t too hard to see a future for us if we make it through the next fifty years or so.
That little book is going to have to make it on its own. I have given it as much help as I can.
So now I am free to discuss the reason why I wrote the book – the need for us to go off planet. We now have the resources, and we need to use them. Certainly, if we don’t, and we ever need to, we won’t have the time to explain our failure to our descendants. There won’t be any.
Even though there is not much action on the government side, there is a lot of determination in the few of the billionaire class interested in these things to make their mark in space travel, and quite a bit of ingenuity showing.
But, as market activity usually takes its form in chaotic bursts, there is no continuity of effort in it all. Each entrepreneur is determined to find his (and it is his) own place in the sun, literally.
If all that money and creativity could be coordinated into an effective programme to plant some robots on the moon to actually start the sequence of work necessary to prepare for some real colonists, rather than visitors, we might be able to do something that would have some lasting significance.
I don’t really think we have reached the stage for that kind of determination and focused activity yet. I am afraid, like most human activity that requires sacrifice, we will try that only after we have tried everything else. Maybe, as I postulate, there will still be time, and maybe there won’t.
They don’t call them mass extinctions to emphasize their survivability.
You might wonder how an ignorant person from an out-of -the way place like Toronto (hint – Canada) would have the unvarnished temerity to enter into such a discussion.
Well, if you asked, and maybe, just maybe, you did, I have an answer for you. Maybe not an acceptable one, but an answer. I happen to be a self-declared expert on Moon Colonies, having written one of the books on them. It’s premise is pretty extreme, but it is starting to look a little less extreme as the research goes on and more is discovered about its basic premise of a comet strike.
Recently, one of the Mars orbiters has imaged some indications of Tsunami deposits on Mars. Because Tsunamis are only induced by extreme conditions, it points to something very violent in Mars’ history after the giant collision that scientists speculate formed the lowland northern hemisphere of the planet and radically changed its evolution by stripping it of much of its atmosphere and surface water.
Everyone who is interested in such things is aware that there are many indications, some found at close range by the Curiosity rover, that there was once a lot of liquid water on the surface of Mars, perhaps enough to make an ocean.
If we assume that indications are likelihoods, it is not much of a step to posit that meteors (does one call them meteorites on Mars?) impacted the planet while it still had oceans at least twice after the collision(s) that reshaped the planet.
This seems to indicate that such collisions are far more frequent than we would like to admit. Added to the unsettling evidence that any view of the moon and planets will provide, along with the evidence that is unfolding about mass extinctions, nervous people might well become just a little concerned by all these unwelcome facts.
Certainly, a number of the great minds of the age have arrived independently at the same conclusion. Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking for two, along with a lot of other astronomers now working.
It’s impossible to look out at the universe and not be aware, as Hawking said, that it is a violent place.
It seems entirely logical that one of the reasons that we have not found other intelligence is that it would probably be produced in a solar system like ours with rocky planets that necessarily includes the kind of danger we face both internal (earthquakes etc.) and external (meteors etc.). Maybe that is a condition of life and few such intelligences would be more likely than us to sacrifice our present for our future.
I admit to you that it is a very unlikely scenario, but the consequences are so bad and the ultimate probability so high that maybe we should throw some resources at it. Let’s call it insurance.