Saturday, June 24, 2006
I'm down with The Hawking. I like the guy. He brings astrophysics to the layman. I like pondering the Big Picture but lack the intellect to solve the Big Equations. So folks like Stephen, Carl, and Michio come to my rescue.
But he's simplifying this whole colonization thing. Sure we could build it. Sure we can survive there. But surviving isn't exactly thriving. If you think this biosphere is precarious, magnify that a thousandfold for the Moon and Mars.
The logistics are insane. We've failed in our attempts to create a closed biosphere. We haven't a firm grasp on the daily interactions of our own planet. A sustainable independent colony is still a ways off. More than a century I'd say. Just pointing out a flaw in the current thinking. We're concentrating on the "how do we do it?" gee-whiz engineering, but not thinking about the bacteria. We've got a whole support system free of charge that has to be replicated. That's a tall order.
There's a tendency to equate the rapid pace of advances in computing with technology in general. I dunno about this. We lack the drive. SpaceShipOne had me on the edge of my seat in 2004. But where are we now? Nothing. It didn't exactly jumpstart the private sector space race. Which is a shame.
Space enthusiasts are always asked why? Why spend the money? We've got many other problems to sort out. My answer is always in the form of a question. Why not? Why get up in the morning? Why do we even exist?
To continue to ponder why? That's why. It's not as immediate as curing cancer, ending world hunger, and admittedly a host of other more important matters to mankind. It's the neat side effect of gaining sentience all those centuries ago. To ponder the Big Picture. We're stellar matter. We're simply the universe trying to understand itself.
Why? It's a fundemental child's query. I'd be nice if we're still around seeking answers.
*This wistful rambling brought to you by TVT*