28 thoughts on “Scientific American”

  1. Obviously humans should remain on the Earth.
    With any luck we will have extinguished ourselves as a species long before the Sun goes nova and does it for us.

    Besides human beings mucking around directly in outer space, there are three other possibilities as well. That we create a way to hold human consciousness outside the human body, allowing us literally to live in a machine that is immune to the hazards of space and space travel. In fact virtual instantaneous space travel would be possible if the consciousness can be held in suspended animation until arrival at the destination. As weird as this sounds, it seems to me to be far more likely to achieve than the physical type of biological suspended animation we read about in SF. The other extreme would be if we could develop teleportation. Then all you need to do is send out one-way un-crewed exploration vessels with teleporters aboard to various destinations. Eventually upon arrival they self-activate allowing people back on Earth to step into a teleporter and travel at light speed to their destination and back. As long as you don’t mind forever leaving behind (literally and chronologically) those back on Earth. Also has the advantage that you’d not be aware of the journey, to you it would be instantaneous. Even better, if the teleporter works on the quantum level perhaps chronology (in the form of Special Relativity) doesn’t exist either. Meaning you can go back and forth at super-luminal speed with NO time dilated between. If we get extremely lucky perhaps we stumble upon this as pre-existing technology left behind for us by aliens a few million millennia ago. Ala Stargate-SG1 or 2001: A Space Odyssey or Interstellar. The obvious irony of the latter two is that your civilization at least has to develop enough space capable tech to be able to achieve interplanetary travel. A built in threshold mechanism. Fail to achieve that, fail to boot-strap beyond. The third is AI. AI gets bored with the Earth and everything on and in it and heads out to the stars by itself. By definition it would have none of the biological and psychological handicaps described in the article. There is probably better than even odds on this latter and might be the only way a representative of humanity out-survives its star.

      1. Paragraphs, brother-man. Paragraphs.

        The source material you are making fun of at least uses paragraphs.

      2. I have to say I’m disappointed in Sarah.

        Don’t worry she has our exciting future all mapped out in a new book she us working on and for many of us it looks very bright!! Countdown: The Blinding Future of Nuclear Weapons It will be out in 2024, maybe.

  2. “Humans evolved for and adapted to conditions on Earth. Move us off our planet, and we start to fail—physically and psychologically. The cancer risk from cosmic rays and the problems that human bodies experience in microgravity could be deal-breakers on their own. Moreover, there may not be a viable economic case for sustaining a presence on another world. Historically, there hasn’t been much public support for spending big money on it. Endeavors toward interplanetary colonization also bring up thorny ethical issues that most space optimists haven’t fully grappled with.”

    There is no support for public funds for other people to live in space. But there is public funds for NASA to explore space.
    We don’t know if human live anywhere in Space other than Earth, but people can go into space and live for
    some period of time.

    We don’t know if people can live on the ocean or under the ocean or in the sky on Earth, but people have spend some time on the Moon and in Earth orbit.
    People can live passing thru the sky, over the ocean and it the ocean.
    But live in sense raising family or something or some call it self-sustaining living {but no one doing this “self-sustaining living” anywhere on Earth} or another term is some place habitable.
    We going to explore Mars to see if Mars is habitable. We are not exploring the Moon to determine if Moon is habitable.
    The Moon could be a place to visit, not live there. Mars
    has to be place human could live, or due to it’s distance we should not explore it unless there a chance
    it could be habitable.
    So exploring the Moon as a step to exploring Mars, and because it might have mineable water. If Moon has mineable water it become a place to visit because one make rocket fuel to get back to Earth.
    Making rocket fuel on Mars is not hard or unknown, we exploring Mars to find mineable water not for rocket fuel {mainly} but to determine if people can live there {whether Mars is habitable}.

    In short we are exploring Mars and the Moon, and results of exploration could determine if we can visit the Moon and/or live on Mars.
    But commercial mining of water on Moon or Mars is not NASA job, NASA job is space exploration- which includes exploring the Sun, and no one going to live on the Sun.

  3. The people that ‘Go’ will eventually profit from it while the people that ‘Stay’ may eventually see some bauble or two …potatoes, tea, coffee, bauxite, nitrates and other things discovered and shipped from afar. We Don’t Know what We Don’t Know.

    The article sounds like some nineteenth century person arguing against those smelly steam engines.

  4. We can’t live on Earth. It’s only within couple centuries, that people hadn’t very short lifetimes, and currently few live for as much as 100 years- trees and turtles live longer.
    Earth has many toxic substance and has plagues, floods, the Sun emits harmful radiation as does the entire universe.
    And some number of global warming cargo cult member think Earth could get a hot as Venus.
    But the reality is we are living in an Ice Age on Earth and humans evolve while in this Ice Age, and few living things on Earth have evolved during this Ice Age, which has been going on for 33.9 million years, but it’s got a lot colder in last few million year, and such coldness is not what most life on Earth has evolve in.
    So, in last 1/2 million years, Earth might been coldest it’s ever been and only few creatures like human and polar bears have evolved in this environment.
    And Earth is a nuclear reactor. It got lava flowing from it, and it tough place to live- if you want live a long time.

  5. Before beginning to discuss the material, we must first, de novo, discuss the forum.

    Scientific American is not American and not Scientific, and has not been for a minimum of three decades, possibly more.

    This understanding abrogates any need to actually discuss the material in the forum

  6. “What is the business case?”

    This is dumb because the question implies an answer rather than lots of answers.

    I thought the op-ed was a great example of the evolutionary fear of an uncertain future and how many smart people are not aware of where their feelings come from or how to deal with them in a positive and healthy way.

      1. Astrophysics has gained knowledge by leaps and bounds over the last 50 years. There is zero chance of the Sun going nova because nova outbursts occur from a white dwarf star in a close binary system with a companion star transferring mass to its surface.

        And there is zero chance of the Sun going supernova because it simply doesn’t have enough mass.

        The Sun, however, has increase in luminosity by about 40% since its formation 4.5 billion years ago, by about 10% in the last billion years. The Climate Change community is just getting aware of this and they are furiously waving their arms to explain how the average temperature (measured in the geologic reccord by isotope proportions) has remained as steady as it has.


        1. Just think what the Sun becoming a Red Giant will do to the climate!

          There fixed that for ya.

          After all, when it comes to climate change we all know the psychopathy is settled.

          1. Long before the Sun becomes a Red Giant, it will continue its increase in luminosity as a normal Main Sequence star until, according to the Climate Change Mafia, life will be wiped out. That is, if life hasn’t been wiped out by not mandating electric cars and residential heat pumps in cold regions.

            According to the Wikipedia article “Timeline of the Far Future”, this will happen in the next 500 million to billion years, by which time the Sun will have brightened by 10%. This is a long way off from the 5 billion to take the Sun to the Red Giant Phase where it will melt the surface of the Earth.

            The Sun brightens over long geologic time because its current energy source is fusion of hydrogen into helium in its core region. As the concentration of helium increases, the mass density of the core increases as does the rate of hydrogen fusion, that is, until hydrogen is depeleted from the core and hydrogen fusion takes place in a “shell” surrounding an ultra-dense helium core, which are the conditions in a Red Giant.

            That said is that if life will end in 500 million to a billion years from the Sun being 5-10 percent brighter, how did life manage 500 million years ago, when all of the phyla of multicellular animal life came to be in the Cambrian Explosion, or a billion year prior, when DNA markers indicated their antecedents came to be, a time when the Sun was 5-10 % dimmer.

            This is just coming “on the radar” of the Climate Change community, and among the explanations are Snowball Earth (is this “settled science” that life was almost wiped out about a billion years ago or so in a massive Ice Age?) along with “there had to be a strong Greenhouse Effect, there had to be a strong Greenhouse Effect.”

            This thing about the Sun being much dimmer long, long ago was told to me by a couple of astronomers who pulled me aside after a public lecture on Climate Change.

            Note that astronomers aren’t giving public lectures around the U claiming that Climate Change is goofy because it doesn’t account for life cruising around subject to large changes in the Sun’s brighteness. This knowledge is shared by the astronomers eying you up and trying to figure out how you will react before they clue you in.

            At the time, I listened politely but didn’t give this much heed until in my search for obsessive hobbies with which to bore people in my social circle, which include you and others on Rand’s fine Web site, I took a deep dive into stellar evolution, at least what is accessible in senior undergrad or introductory grad textbooks, which explained the physical mechanisms behind with the astronomers tried to tell me when they pulled me aside.

            So maybe an obsession about the Fate of the Sun and getting the most up-to-date predictions on where the Sun is headed and also where it has been has practical implications in evaluating whether it is necessary to spend a ton of money on an electric car?

          2. And are these the same astronomers who don’t observe accelerating sea level rise affecting their sidereal clocks?

          3. OK, one question at a time.

            I haven’t looked into whether sidereal time gives a negative result on rising sea level.

            The solar neutrino question has an answer that the astronomers crow about. Turns out that the neutrino measurements were correct but that the physicists admitted that neutrinos must have a small amount of mass causing them to “change flavors” during the trip from the core of the Sun to earthbound neutrino detectors.

            The astronomers told the physicists were wrong, and the physicists “caved” by changing their theory.

          4. The astronomers told the physicists were wrong, and the physicists “caved” by changing their theory.

            Seems like I remember hearing this once:

            If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong! Simple as that.

            Somebody important said that at one time or another…

  7. She could’ve saved lots of typing and explained that humans can’t survive more than a minute or so without oxygen, and there’s no oxygen in space, so humans will never be able to traverse the void to Mars.

      1. Or living out of them either… Well in my case it’s mostly aluminum cans, but let’s not split hairs.

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