There will be a point in time when we all face an existential challenge: should we stay on this Planet or inhabit others?
Any investment banker would recommend to diversify your risks. Elon Musk and most futurists, as well as educated general public, tend to agree with this approach.
According to science, there are 4,071 known exoplanets, or planets outside our solar system that orbit a star, as of June 1, 2019; 94 exoplanets are located within 32.6 light-years from Earth.
Since these planets have a source of warmth and light, there are high chances some of them are able to sustain biological life as we know it on Earth.
If we were able to travel with the speed of light there is no reason to suppose we could not send a multi-generational spaceship to explore and settle on some of those planets.
In essence, all you need to do to ensure space colonization success is to move Love Island into space.
Given sufficient intellectual ability of the crew and their ability not to kill each other on the way, we could achieve multi-planetary colonization sponsored solely by TV advertising.
Despite having no time travel abilities in 1970, Poul Anderson provides an exceptional scenario of how such an expedition might work out, both from scientific perspective, – using the technology, which does not exist yet,- and human psychology, which could be compared only to an extensive research into historic contexts of closed environments like GULAG as well as futuristic predictions of a more frivolous behavior in the upcoming years.
The technology described in the book is called Ramjet Fusion rocket. The space ship would use hydrogen gas in interstellar space and concentrate it in its fusion reactor to generate energy. This technology could potentially allow us travel faster than the speed of light, allowing a crew to reach nearest exoplanets in several years!
While Michio Kaku advocates Transhumanism and immortality as the most viable options to explore the universe, Anderson comes up with an alternative of Tau Zero, a concept, which allows crew members to avoid ageing by traveling faster than the speed of light.
However, what would happen if the a disastrous accident breaks down ship’s deceleration mechanism? Indefinitely increasing the speed, you would end up losing any meaning of time and relation to the world you used to know… as minutes of your life start translating into hours of time outside the ship and galaxies pass by during your meal…
Imagine loneliness and desperation from realizing that everything that defined you as an individual is gone, all people that knew you are no longer. How would you feel knowing that the Planet you once inhabited might not exist anymore? Not a single grey hair on your head…
Where will you look for meaning when there is no belonging? How will you pull yourself together when all plans are gone?
Anderson paints a unique picture of human psychology, determination and ingenuity as well as makes us think:
- What would you do to survive?
- How do you manage to mobilize your mind when the ground is dissolving under your feet?
- How much would it really take you to learn a new skill or discover your new potential if you truly believed in yourself?
- How much does your pride really cost and who is the one evaluating you?
- Is there anything a human really cannot do?
We all have our truths; usually constructed from the combination of our upbringing, interactions, past choices, desires and millions of data points continuously plugged into our mind and shaping a unique reality of uncertainties, complexes and fears.
What if you looked at your life from a cosmic perspective of what is possible, and not what is expected by your small distorted truth?
After all, you are a Human!