free html hit counter Peak Oil Debunked: 306. STEPHEN HAWKING: HUMANS MUST GO INTO SPACE

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

306. STEPHEN HAWKING: HUMANS MUST GO INTO SPACE

It's nice to see one of the greatest minds on the planet in full agreement with one of the main contentions of this blog: that humans must grow into space. The endless energy/material resources of space will allow humans to continue exponential growth into the solar system and beyond, and dodge the problems posed by exhaustion of terrestrial resources.

Dr. Hawking:
Hawking says humans must go into space
Predicts increased risk of disaster that will destroy our planet

Updated: 11:03 a.m. ET June 13, 2006

HONG KONG - The survival of the human race depends on its ability to find new homes elsewhere in the universe because there's an increasing risk that a disaster will destroy the Earth, world-renowned scientist Stephen Hawking said Tuesday.

The British astrophysicist told a news conference in Hong Kong that humans could have a permanent base on the moon in 20 years and a colony on Mars in the next 40 years.

"We won't find anywhere as nice as Earth unless we go to another star system," added Hawking, who arrived to a rock star's welcome Monday. Tickets for his lecture planned for Wednesday were sold out.

He added that if humans can avoid killing themselves in the next 100 years, they should have space settlements that can continue without support from Earth.

"It is important for the human race to spread out into space for the survival of the species," Hawking said. "Life on Earth is at the ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers we have not yet thought of."Source
-- by JD

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Numerous articles on harvesting energy and resources from space are available on the sidebar under "Popular Content". See #2, #5, #51, #104, #191 and #223.

26 Comments:

At Tuesday, June 13, 2006 at 8:20:00 PM PDT, Blogger Freak said...

Firefly

 
At Wednesday, June 14, 2006 at 4:56:00 AM PDT, Blogger Gareth Doutch said...

Reminds me of a quote from another eminent physicist:

"A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it"

 
At Wednesday, June 14, 2006 at 7:53:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ronald Brak said...

Unfortunately we don't have the technology to make a self sustaining colony offworld. Until we do humans will just be deadweight taking up valuable kilograms that could have been spent of robotics.

Fortunately the earth has remained more habitable than any other body in the solar system for at least 3 billion years so we are unlikely to get wiped out by nature in the next few hundred years. And if we can't prevent ourselves from killing ourselves with high technology on earth, how will we prevent ourselves from doing that in space where we will be entirely dependant on high tech?

"Survival of humanity" sound like a good reason to build a secret shelter in New Zealand. Until we improve our technology, sending people into our space will probably drain money from science budgets and reduce our chances of survival.

 
At Wednesday, June 14, 2006 at 8:16:00 AM PDT, Blogger Fernando said...

"The survival of the human race depends on its ability to find new homes elsewhere in the universe because there's an increasing risk that a disaster will destroy the Earth, world-renowned scientist Stephen Hawking said Tuesday."

A little doomerish, I think. Kunstler must be rejoicing.

 
At Wednesday, June 14, 2006 at 8:31:00 AM PDT, Blogger dub_scratch said...

Stephen Hawking may be a hell of an intelligent guy, but on this one I think he is delusional.

The idea of solving our problems by escaping this planet is of an irresponsible attitude that the Earth is disposable-- that we can just keep destroying it because we can move to Mars or something. Furthermore, any technology capable of allowing our existence out into space would easily be adapted on post-disaster Earth, under such scenario. I'd much rather take my chances on some space colony dome city here on Earth after a nuclear holocaust than miserable, dead Mars. In light of that, the very notion of human escape from disaster bound Earth is useless-- a folly beyond all follies.

In light of that I do agree that space does offer a bounty of resources that could allow for continued exponential growth on Earth for centuries. The physical limits of this planet in terms of human urban habitation (elbow room) are nowhere near the maximum capacity. It is the resource footprint that limits that would first have to be confronted with-- along with the undoing of destructive systems that is exterminating other species. That barrier can only be broken by getting resources from space.

 
At Friday, June 16, 2006 at 7:13:00 PM PDT, Blogger byofoels said...

if our suvival depends on our success in space then we are truely screwed. For this truely great thinker to resort to such cornucopean nonsence bids us all very ill. This has has very doomerish connotations.

I just have to say to all you kids raised on the Star Wars franchise, and various StarTreks and other space opera fluff: it is only entertainment. sorry.

It is time to wake up and watch your world decline.

 
At Saturday, June 17, 2006 at 2:14:00 AM PDT, Blogger Freak said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At Saturday, June 17, 2006 at 2:32:00 AM PDT, Blogger Freak said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At Saturday, June 17, 2006 at 3:19:00 AM PDT, Blogger Omnitir said...

This is a simple truth that most people simply can’t comprehend. It’s a fact that unless humanity learns to utilise space (and eventually live in space), then we are doomed to total extinction in the geological short term.

Yes, of course this is a doomeristic point of view, but not the childish peak oil doomer mindset that thinks a change in the status quo equates to the end of civilisation, but rather a doom point of view that looks at the truly big picture and understands that we either sink or swim. There is no in-between. We can’t permanently powerdown and live “sustainable”. This would guarantee nothing less then our extinction.

If we truly want to ensure a future for our descendants, we must focus on space. It's the only way civilisation can be truelly sustainable.

 
At Saturday, June 17, 2006 at 9:19:00 PM PDT, Blogger Freak said...

CORNWALL, Conn. - The son of billionaire oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens was charged with burglary after he was found hiding under a table in a fly fishing shop, authorities said.

 
At Tuesday, June 20, 2006 at 11:34:00 AM PDT, Blogger popmonkey said...

an interesting entry, but kind of a strange post to have at the "top" of the log (not that it's basically mothballed) for folks who may be looking around and getting turned off from the real meaty stuff that's deeper in... maybe you should have a "floating" top post regarding the purpose of the blog and making more noise about the "best" of or most "popular" links that are in the sidebar and are surely ignored...

 
At Wednesday, June 21, 2006 at 3:48:00 AM PDT, Blogger Markku said...

Sending meat-people to space is so 1950s. The only reason why sending meat-people to space in the future is an often recurring theme in sci-fi is that it allows the reader to better identify with the characters or that it the alternatives never occurred to the writers.

First re-engineer human bodies and brains so that they can live comfortably in environments wildly differing from the Earth. Being able to survive comfortably in vacuum, poisonous atmospheres, intense pressure, scorching radiation, extreme heat or extreme cold would be make space colonisation much easier and cheaper. Instead of eating one could survive on electricity produced in photovoltaics or nuclear batteries inside the body.

 
At Wednesday, June 21, 2006 at 6:14:00 PM PDT, Blogger Freak said...

meat people?

I'm trying to stay context specific here, but.......


there is something to be said for the simple pleasures or being able to do things such as Italian food or sex.

not to detract from the spirit of your suggestion, It just makes me chuckle a bit, I contrast a massive die-off with enhanced cyborg humans that can't die.

These more fringe suggestions beg for "meaning of life" type questions to be applied to them.

 
At Thursday, June 22, 2006 at 1:51:00 AM PDT, Blogger Markku said...

there is something to be said for the simple pleasures or being able to do things such as Italian food or sex.

Why do you think cyborgs would be incapable of enjoying things?

not to detract from the spirit of your suggestion, It just makes me chuckle a bit, I contrast a massive die-off with enhanced cyborg humans that can't die.

These more fringe suggestions beg for "meaning of life" type questions to be applied to them.


I don't think the meaning of life is death. But you're right in that radically re-designing the body and the mind will change what life is about in many ways. I think that is perfectly fine.

 
At Friday, June 23, 2006 at 2:35:00 AM PDT, Blogger cynic boy said...

Oh i love this site.
Heres another great idea,lets go and find another planet like earth and fuck it up as bad as this one!!
What a cop out!!
Lets get the earth sorted out for the people who are going to be "staying"
Not an easy task when the world has been hijacked by greedy corrupt governments and corperations and an education system that only teaches you to become a successful consumer.
But the first thing you can do to help things is to ask yourself,do you really need that suv to compensate for your "ahem" shortcomings?,or do you really need to have another kid to complete the "nuclear family Set"?
Is owning that Debt-ridden house in the burbs that you work 60 hours a week to pay off really making you happy?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions,congratulations!
You are a perfect product of the system!
Now run along,you must have another useless consumer item to purchase!

 
At Friday, June 23, 2006 at 10:59:00 AM PDT, Blogger Freak said...

Umm, Duh.

But I don't think you can really blame this site for rampant consumerism.

Some people have been conditioned by this system, that their lives are supposed to be an emotional roller coaster, based on the cycle of needs-rewards and punishments like la animals. I agree, I wish people could see it and not go along with their own self-invalidation based on materialism which never ultimately leaves you fulfilled. But, I would ask you to consider, Can you convert someone to a different way of thinking by expressing hate toward them? If you want to get people out of their SUV's and exurban doll-houses then maybe you should play up the problems associalted with those things, and how cool and unique they would be if they did something better for them and the world around them. If you make something seem sexy and trendy, idiots will fall right in line.

 
At Friday, June 23, 2006 at 5:14:00 PM PDT, Blogger Omnitir said...

Heres another great idea, lets go and find another planet like earth and fuck it up as bad as this one!! What a cop out!!
Lets get the earth sorted out for the people who are going to be "staying"


This is a common perception people have about migrating to space, and it’s profoundly wrong.
Spend some time contemplating what living in space would actually mean. We would:

- Learn how to produce what we need entirely from space rocks instead of from Earths fragile environment, with the spin off effect of greatly reducing the human industrial footprint on Earth.

- Become ultra efficient because you can’t afford to waste things in space, with the spin off of greatly reducing the human footprint on Earth

- Learn how to live in a closed system habitat, with the spin off benefit of greatly reducing the human residential footprint on Earth.

- Sustaining large populations in space eventually leading to smaller populations on Earth, with the spin off of a smaller human footprint on Earth.

- Ensuring our species collective long term survival by not having all the eggs in the one basket.
.etc...

Developing space will easily be the most environmentally friendly thing humanity will ever do. It’s not “fucking up this place and leaving to go find another”, it’s leaving so we can learn how to save this place, and our very existence.

This notion that we should “get things right here first” is retarded. That will not happen on its own and if we wait too long it will be too late. There is no middle ground, humanity must either sink or swim, meaning we either become extinct or we populate the galaxy.

You luddites are dangerous. You think you are fighting for the environment, when you don’t realise that the only change the environment has, is to keep progressing. If things go the way you guys want, most life on Earth will perish. But you’re to close minded to even contemplate that you could be wrong.

 
At Friday, June 23, 2006 at 5:49:00 PM PDT, Blogger cynic boy said...

Cynic boy here again,
well omnitir,you make it sound almost easy,but what time frame are you talking about here?
Our problems are here and now and time is not on our side.
Even with technological advances it could take humans a hundred years or more to achieve that goal of living on another planet.
A goal,which i hate to say is way more likely then not to fail completely.
Lets say by some miracle we can find a planet somewhere 'close' that can sustain our life needs and then by an even bigger miracle,survive the incredibly dangerous journey to it,and then be able to successfully live there(total pie in the sky in my book)Who will go to start the breeding process there?
Will black people be allowed to go,or will it just be for rich white people?
Will there be some lottery process whereby you can win a seat to the new earth?
The basic fact is,and i know you wont agree omnitir,that overbreeding is what is getting the human race in the shit in the first place!
As for an asteriod wiping us out,that could happen any minute,but there is no need to rush into star trek mode.

 
At Saturday, June 24, 2006 at 12:43:00 PM PDT, Blogger Freak said...

"Will black people be allowed to go,or will it just be for rich white people?
Will there be some lottery process whereby you can win a seat to the new earth?"

I'm starting to have a problem with the every perspective now.

Lot's of foward thinking people with the ideals of colonize space, etc.... assume that while humanity will evolve
technologically, it will stay crystallized in it's current anthropological status, with all prejudices and base instincts intact. and that since those are a constant a smaller population or stable population or one that is not consumerist, or tyrannical is impossible. And as far as your notion of will black people be allowed to go, you think it will take hundreds of years, cynic? IS there something that gives you the ideal the humanity might not become more racially homogenous?

and I hope everyone can contrast how ignorant humans used to be in past centuries versus today, and think how quickly once bootstraped that knowledge spread, and that as years go by that should continue to grow exponentially. We may leave earth, or we may change how we define it and ourselves and our very role in existence, who knows?

 
At Saturday, June 24, 2006 at 9:05:00 PM PDT, Blogger Omnitir said...

Cynic boy,
goal of living on another planet

Do you really think that the only way humanity could ever become a space faring civilization is if we find another Earth-like planet? What about Earth orbit, the moon, Mars, the immense asteroid belt surrounding the inner-solar system?

what time frame are you talking about here?
Our problems are here and now and time is not on our side.
Even with technological advances it could take humans a hundred years or more


Incredibly, populating and utilising space does not require the development of some Star Trek-like fantasy technology. Here’s the amazing thing that people just can’t seem to grasp: we are more then technologically capable to begin colonising space RIGHT NOW. The primary thing stopping us from doing it is simply the mind-set of everyday people.

People like yourself and millions of others, who do not believe in the principles of space exploration and development, are the reason why it has not happened yet, and are the reason why civilisation is not yet sustainable. Ironically, those striving for sustainability through ‘back to nature’ style initiatives, and opposing science and technology, are the very people most strongly impeding our chances of reaching true sustainability.

Yes, we have problems right now. But should we not bother striving for solutions simply because they are long term investments? The sooner we begin utilising space, the sooner we being to reap the rewards. Arguing about a time frame is pointless – it’s an on going thing. However, current world-wide and heavily funded initiatives aim to establish the initial infrastructure on the moon and in orbit within 10 to 15 years. Then we will begin utilising space resources and gradually building up our endeavours and capabilities in space. At some point it will become completely self-sustaining and eventually begin providing Earth with resources, at which point we begin reducing the human footprint on Earth.

The basic fact is, and i know you wont agree omnitir, that overbreeding is what is getting the human race in the shit in the first place!

Damn right I disagree. The U.S. consumes how much of the world resources? Yet they account for how much of the world population? It seems more like a gluttonous American way of life if to blame, not overbreeding. Or do you think overbreeding is the problem because those massively populated under developed countries are beginning to take away what supposedly should be the rightful property of Americans? Population isn’t the problem, over consumption is. In any case, utilising space will eventually solve both issues.

Who will go to start the breeding process there?

Does it really matter? It highly likely won’t be you or I or anyone we know. But so what? The point is to ensure the survival of humanity and planet Earth. Who colonises space when it eventually reaches that point is irrelevant to the discussion. Though I imagine it would be the families of the astronauts that decide to live and work in space, not some lottery winners.

 
At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 at 6:41:00 AM PDT, Blogger Disgorge! said...

Apparently Lou Gehrig's disease also affects the brain.

 
At Friday, July 21, 2006 at 10:28:00 AM PDT, Blogger kid happy said...

"Here’s the amazing thing that people just can’t seem to grasp: we are more then technologically capable to begin colonising space RIGHT NOW."

I appreciate your comments but I feel this is a little optimistic. I don't feel that civilization that couldn't keep eight people alive, in a bio-sphere, without pumping oxygen could keep the same people alive, in space, right now. Let alone on any of the planets/moons we know of.

Doesn't mean we can't explore space, but not completely viable right now.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biosphere_2

 
At Thursday, November 30, 2006 at 8:40:00 AM PST, Blogger tonyjames said...

sounds great until the demand for homes and the price of living on earth becomes so high us normal humans cant afford to live on our own planet. Into space with all the freaks and chavs and anyone that doesnt fit the desired criteria. Like we dont have enough problems . Hawking should stick to writing crap books and leave the future of humanity to the professionals.

 
At Tuesday, January 30, 2007 at 5:23:00 AM PST, Blogger Tutorialblog said...

I´m 100percent with him....

If we try to solve the problems we´r now facing with - we can do anything.

Reg Marv
Visit My Photocommunity

 
At Sunday, June 10, 2007 at 8:14:00 AM PDT, Blogger Felix said...

Yeah, and we should also become inmortal and develop technology to power our planes with salt water. I bet Stephen is currently devoting his massive brain to the cause, at least when he is not busy marinating and recycling old cosmology papers 30 years old and posing to the cameras as the only bright scientist in the world.

What a deep concept! Humans should go into space to survive! Although i agree in principle and in fact, that idea was what motivated me to study physics and specialice in fusion researh the thing is... we cant yet. There is not energy to do that. Soon there wont be enough energy to run a car, much less a spaceship.

Maybe we will do it eventually, at the 22th century, once fusion gets developed.

 
At Saturday, June 14, 2008 at 9:49:00 AM PDT, Blogger taz said...

Anyone ever see 'Earth 2'? In all likelihood, any emigration to an off-world colony would be limited to the power elite and a few indentured servants/techies, not any kind of large population. Fine. But for the rest of the species, we have to find methods of making this planet a more sustainable environment. For most of us, it's the only home we'll ever have. - taz

 

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