Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Overheard: on space travel

(Image pilfered from Occupy the Game.)

Sure, I think interstellar travel is possible. Will it happen? Probably, if it hasn't already been done somewhere else. But if we're talking about the prospects of space travel from Earth, I don't see it happening any time soon, and if it ever does, I doubt the species making the leap will be homo sapiens.

I'd like to be proven wrong. Believe me, I would. But all signs suggest we've already shut that window on ourselves. What I see when I look at the species is -- it's sort of like that bright kid you knew in high school who got held back a grade for being lazy and then got expelled for being a jackass. There's still that chance he might live up to the potential everyone keeps telling him he has and make something of himself, but it would take an optimism bordering on delusion not to know what to expect from him, given the consistent precedent he's set for himself.

Homo sapiens isn't going anywhere anytime soon, and in all likelihood has "evolutionary burnout" written in its future. But hell -- there's always that shrinking sliver a chance we'll surprise everyone, including ourselves.


How much easier is it to abandon someone you love who constantly lets you down than to give up hope for your own future? What about when it's your rotten luck that to do one is to do the other?


  1. Life evolves to be just barely smart enough to get by. We've needed to invent a cheat at each step of the way to improve ourselves: language, writing, empirical evidence based science, automated databases... we can make computers copy any process we can enumerate consciously, but our subconscious is a huge part of thought process.

    Maybe we'll fall and survive. We've come back from dark ages before.

    Maybe the transhumanists are right; I can at least hope our non-human descendants get out there.

    Maybe it does not matter that in 1,000,000 years nothing I do will have mattered. I can just hope.

  2. I see it more as "rational suicide." The evidence presented seems to support the choice of discontinuing space travel, but in the end it's a short-sighted view (like rational suicide). It's too expensive, we're not getting results that wow everyone, we don't have the technology to imitate science fiction. It just seems like it's not worth it.

    Of course, that's not to say it isn't. It just seems that way.

  3. Here are my 2 abstracts: http://hjufvvhjbj.blogspot.com/2011/11/jmvhjv.html

    I hope I win. I can almost guarantee that my ideas are the most unique of the 1s submitted (they were even open to non-profits btw). Anyway, since they are presented from a business perspective, there's actually a lot more to add and nuances/factors that I left out.