by Wayne Boyd – Philosopher, blogger, published author
I don’t know why I’d want to move over to that planet. I’d rather keep working to make things better on this planet. Also, I imagine it might be pretty expensive to move, then I have to buy some land and a house over there, make new friends, and so on. Too much trouble for me.
So to answer your question “How would life be for us if we were to colonize a super-Earth” I would think some people would migrate over there and some people or most people would stay here. I mean, people already have their lives set up here, why move over there?
If Elon Musk did colonize Mars with 1 million people, would he be the most important person to have ever lived?
would then think of him like maybe Christopher Columbus, or the
Pilgrims from England that started populating North America. Outside
North America these people are not seen as important (or even known).
Schools in other parts of the world don’t teach much about this.
in America, however, we have Columbus day to remember the crossing of
the Atlantic in 1492 by Christopher Columbus, and Plymouth Rock in
Massachusetts to remember the first landing of the Pilgrims who came
from Plymouth, England. We have Thanksgiving to remember a mutual
celebration between the Pilgrims and the local Native Americans after
the Pilgrims had their first successful growing season.
I would say that to the people of Earth Elon Musk would not be the most
important person to have ever lived, but to the people of Mars he would
be the most important person for the first few generations, but as time
passed he would be seen from an historical point of view and remembered
on future Martian calendars by the people of Mars.
on Earth he would be remembered in history books, too, but so many
people have come and gone in the history of mankind. Many people in the
past have been very transformative, but overall are not seen as the most
important persons. People like Alexander the Great, Issac Newton,
Albert Einstein, Walt Disney, George Washington, Queen Victoria, ad
infinitum, have all been very important in the history of mankind, but
none stand out over time as the most important person to have ever
lived. So will it be with Elon Musk even if he did colonize 1 million
people on Mars.
You don’t want me to answer this question. You are looking for a great, positive answer that will make the future look bright not only for colonies on these places, but an economic base for those colonies.
Meanwhile, I’m going to say I don’t think there’s much justification even for people walking on Mars when our robots can do it more safely and less expensively and achieve the same or better results…. what to speak of “colonies.” I think it’s almost laughable and mostly just science fiction dreaming.
People may or may not one day walk on Mars at great risk, and some will probably die in the attempt. There is little reason to go there from a scientific point of view other than to say we did, just like we walked on the moon and then went away.
In the meantime, a safer, cheaper way is send our machines to go.
You see, what this is all about is finding life. What scientists want to do is prove that life can evolve elsewhere than Earth – a so far unproven theory. We want there to be life elsewhere because we want to prove that life was not “created” on Earth alone, but life naturally develops from matter when conditions are ideal.
We don’t need “colonies” or economic bases in space to prove that. We just need to find some germs under some rocks or on some moon around some planet in our solar system. For that we just need space vehicles and robots like the Mars Rovers.
Whether we find life or not is anyone’s guess, but it is still science fiction thinking we will colonize anything off planet.
Great question! Complicated answer. Let’s start by looking Earthward at ourselves, then we’ll compare that looking spaceward toward the stars.
As you know, homosapiens are the advanced, intelligent life form on Earth which is now technologically advanced and space faring.
Now by some estimates, humans have been on this planet only for the last 200,000 years, or one fifth of one million years. There are a thousand million years in a billion years, and the Earth is about 4.54 billion years old. So, humans have been on Earth for only a tiny fraction of Earth’s existence. Here’s a graphic to illustrate that point and more to follow below.
This image illustrates what it would look like on a 24 hour clock comparing the age of Earth to the presence of humans. In fact, life itself has existed on Earth for less of half the lifespan of the planet, what to speak of humans.
So you can see, even though we have a planet in the goldilocks orbital region around our sun, someone looking at Earth many light years away would not see humans even though humans are here, because the light or radio waves haven’t reached them. They would assume this a dead planet. Humans have existed on this planet, in terms of a 24 hour clock, 1 minute and 17 seconds. In terms of exploring space, for less than 1 second.
You see, just because humans have been on Earth about 200,000 years doesn’t mean humans have been emitting radio waves and exploring space for all that time. In fact, we only began exploring space 60 years ago and emitting radio waves for a couple of hundred years. In the history of Earth, we have explored space (in terms of a 24 hour clock) for only a flash of a portion of a second.
That’s us. Now let’s look at the stars.
Let’s say there are 100,000 planets with advanced life like humans on them right now.
However, since the galaxy is 200,000 light years across, someone on a planet on the other side of the galaxy from us would not be visible to us. We’d see that as a planet with no human-like people because it would take light and radio waves 200,000 years to reach us. Now take into consideration that of the 100,000 planets with human-like people on them (as you suggest in your question), it took us 200,000 years to get to the point of emitting radio waves and exploring space. Hence, we’re looking for a very narrow window in a planet’s lifespan that intelligent life might be detected. Not only a tiny fraction of the planet’s existence has it had intelligent life, but only a tiny fraction of the time the intelligent life existed there were they able to emit radio waves and explore space, even if all conditions were favorable for that planet to eventually develop intelligent life.
Furthermore, the sky is very big. Looking for exoplanets, we have explored less than 3% of the total sky so far.
Put all of that together and the chance we would have detected other intelligent life is almost nil to date, even though it might still be out there somewhere. The guy below might be the exception.
Venus is Earth’s sister planet. It has almost the same size and gravity as Earth.
As you know, the Venus atmosphere is extremely harsh. So bleeding into space would be one way to make the planet more friendly to people.
The one big thing about Venus is that it’s atmosphere is way thicker than Earth’s. There’s no known technology that could somehow siphon all the air from Venus and send it adrift in space anymore than we could siphon all our CO2 on Earth into space.
Probably, and that’s why terraforming is a bad idea. Inside the scientifically minded community, there are two distinct ideas.
Don’t contaminate. Leave whatever planet it happens to be in the original pristine condition so we can study it. (This is the predominant, tree hugging concept.)
Screw number 1. Terraform the planet. Make it livable for humans, existing organisms, if they exist at all, be damned.
That being said, we do try all we can not to contaminate planets we send probes to even though some microorganisms may have made it through.
At present, and probably rightly so, NASA does not want to introduce organisms to other planets – or visa versa – introduce to Earth organisms from other planets on Earth. We may have already failed, but we still try.
We spend 600 billion dollars every year on the military. What would happen if NASA had that kind of money? Here’s a very cool YouTube video that I love to watch!