Our Small World
Posted by hyperpat on July 20, 2006
Humans have been around a distressingly short period on this planet. And there’s no guarantee that we’ll still be around tomorrow. We’re busily involved in modifying our home to suit ourselves, via mining, lumbering, farming, fishing, and polluting, with little understanding of the long-term consequences of our actions. While the arguments rage about global warming, the deforestation of the Amazon, and how long the oil supplies will last, Mother Earth must absorb and deal with all the blows we are dealing her. And how she deals with them may not be very nice to live with.
Which is why we need to do something to establish a second home. We desperately need to figure out how to not just get to space, but how to live there. Whether it be the Moon, Mars, Callisto, or somewhere totally outside the solar system, we need to find a place where man can survive even in the face of ultimate disaster.
Now many people feel that the money being spent on space exploration is a waste of time, money, and human lives. But our solar system has far more resources than what is contained on our little planet, from iron, nickel, and other metals to an unclouded sun that can provide a great source of clean energy. But unless we invest in making space utilization a priority now, it may soon be too late to ever do it, as disaster may strike at any time, and we’ve already used up most of the more easily obtainable materials needed to develop a high-technology culture.
Science fiction works have poked and prodded the collective consciousness into at least recognizing space as the ultimate frontier, but few people are aware of the extraordinary width and depth of the ideas that SF has explored in its short span as a separate literary genre. To my mind, at least, it is one of the best vehicles for getting people excited about the possibilities of the future, of showing just what mankind can do, just what marvels lie waiting for our discovery, and just how people can live and work in societies far different than our current ones.
For all the above, much of what I write about here will be devoted to science fiction and/or scientific discoveries, and just what their impact is (or should be) on our daily living. I maintain a website devoted to the field at HyperPat’s Science Fiction, and I’d really like people to visit it and hopefully come away with a better appreciation of what the field offers.