Sunday, 17 April 2011

Space Exploration, Why We Need To Get Off This Rock

Sometimes I wake with plenty of topics in my mind that I feel like writing about in my blog. Sometimes I wake up with my literary and opinionated brain quagmired in mush that vaguely remind me of a simpson's episode where, Homer is happily has monkeys in his mind, clanging cymbals.

Thankfully this morning I woke up with a few ideas in mind. But when I saw a fellow bloggers blog ( with some news about NASA's Shuttles, I felt compelled to write something I am passionate about. Wayward Disposition frequently comments on my blog so I have no reason to restrain my flattery and not be inspired by his blog. :P

But anyway, Let's get blogging!

So why should humans explore space?

I can think of a million reasons, but for this blog I'll keep it short with a concise list:
-Why not?
-There are more resources out there in space
-Because space is awesome
-Because humanity like life itself is like a plague, we must spread and infect the whole galaxy ! :P
-Because Humanity's Survival Depends on it!

To be fair I can also think of reasons why we shouldn't explore space and go on a colonising frenzy...
-Safety, space is a hazardous environment
-Money, Sending things into space is expensive

But to me the concept of these two problems holding us back is ludicrous.
Thousands of slaves died working on the pyramids but did that stop the Egyptian Pharaohs?
And devoting entire cities' economies on such projects is a vast monetary strain that sent the Ancient Egyptian governemtn bankrupt again and again. But it didn't stop them.

Or how about the Panama Canal? Thousands died on that project, and it bankrupted the investors too. In the 1870's 400 million dollars was worth a lot more than it is today.

But how about an example closer to home... Do you think colonising America was cheap and safe for Britain? Or how about Australia? And yet, If not for The British Empire fronting up the bill for the fleets and risking the very lives of settlers (famine, pestilence, disease and hostile natives, need I say more?) I wouldn't be writing this, and you might not be reading it...

So the idea of us humans being held back from doing great things by the mere problems of safety and money is ludicrous. We certainly haven't been stopped by them in the past, so why should we bat an eyelid now?

And the NASA disasters that have happened over the years? Tragedies of course, but the only reason they occurred was because of NASA declining funding. It's a vicious circle, A NASA space shuttle blows up, so in turn NASA gets less funding and due to their lack of funding they cannot afford to keep their shuttles well maintained and safe and so another shuttle blows up and the cycle repeats. Give NASA more funding and  better safety protocols and these disasters will not happen.

It is no excuse for shying away from the heavens.

Then of course there are all the reasons to go ahead and colonise Mars etc. I would like to focus on just two...

Earth is our home, our caretaker, our mother. Our sun keeps us warm and supplies the energy for life, our fellow living beings use that energy to keep us alive. Earth's magnetic field keeps us safe from the solar winds, the ozone layer keeps us safe from dangerous radiation.
Earth was is our cradle, our birthplace, but it will become our deathbed.

One day, all life on earth will be extinguished. Perhaps it will be a massive meteor, or a supernova, or maybe even our own sun just getting old and fat (ie turning into a red giant). But it will happen without a doubt. You can't stop time, or at least we haven't figured it out yet...

Do you know the chances of earth getting  hit by an apocalyptic meteor? On a year to year basis, it is incredibly small, but if we don't leave this rock then it is a certainty. Earth has had countless collisions in its past and will do again, it's just gravity. In fact only ~100 years ago earth was hit by one that was 1000 times as powerful as the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, we were lucky it hit siberia ( But this was only a small rock.

Now if we humans, were to say, colonise Mars, then Humanity would be permanently safe from meteors. Because to kill off humanity, apocalyptic meteors would have to hit Mars and Earth at roughly the same time. And the chances of this are infinitisimally small, It will never happen, not in a billion years.

And it is possible to colonise Mars. It's relatively easy to terraform it too... All that is required is plenty of pollution and greenhouse gases to make it habitable, something us humans are very good at producing. In the short term though, all that is required is a small colony living in a bubble with their own hydroponics farm and water and air recycling.

So let's do it. If not for us then for life at least, because wherever humans go, all life itself will follow.


  1. Unfortunately human space travel to anywhere outside our solar system is not feasible with current technology... Faster than light travel now please?!

  2. I think its interesting to see that the leading powers in space today was developed countries just a few years ago. China and Russia may not have as much money as NASA, but surely get competiable results. Wonder why...