Human civilization is fairly new when considering the time scale of everything around us. Yet, we often think how awfully old and complicated we are. We often think that everything is for us and we are the zenith of God’s creation. All the galaxies, spread billions of light years away, with billions of stars each, half of which with the possibility of hosting planets of their own… all created for us by the good Lord. What an awful waste of space, if that were to be true!
But we have come far. Just a few hundred years ago, humans could swear that Earth was the center of our Solar system. And today we are ready to explore the outer reaches of our solar system and beyond. To concur the space and bend space and time, to save the Earth and so on.
Save the Earth sounds heroic and all good. But from whom? A big nasty rock that hits home and wipes all species out, global warming or the dying Sun that engulfs all its planets? Must be a killer virus, or even better the aliens! But if you look from above, Humans are the biggest danger to themselves. We are slowly killing our source of existence and many other species that have taken different shapes and forms on this little planet. Humans are the best and the worst, the Earth has ever had.
We now have science and technology to see far into space, yet we fail to see the consequences of our action at home, just few hundred years in advance. We keep producing things that the Earth cannot displace -Plastics. And we keep consuming more and faster than the Earth can replace. We have more than halved the fishes from the oceans and cut the forests that are the main producers of food in the food chain. We pollute the water that we and other creatures depend on and spread toxins in air and ground. All for the sake of our current physical comfort. Instant sense gratification.
What about the future? How long can we continue the way we have been doing our business, destroying our home slowly but steadily? Probably till the last of the rain forests stands, till the last of the beasts, birds and fishes roam free. We will see it all till the last of all is used, burnt, cut and destroyed. We are our own enemies – a strange one; as we are conscious and aware. May be we will find the way to get us out of this home, and go and destroy another planet. Or may be the Creator will rethink his masterpiece as “partially defective” and do a recall.
Speaking about finding another planet to pollute and destroy, we have found a planet which would thus far be the closest to having conditions necessary for existence of Earth like life. It has been named Gliese 581g, after the name of its star – Gliese 581 (a red giant). The planet rotates its sun at the right distance and experts believe that it could have liquid water on its surface. Although it is in tidal lock with its star, meaning only one side of the planet faces the light and the other is in perpetual darkness. It is about 20 light years away from us. So even if we had a space ship that could travel at half the speed of light, it will take us 40 yrs just to get there. So how do we go to that planet before we render our own home useless?
Here is how I think it will happen – The only way humanity can infiltrate and contaminate another planet is by having cyborgs as intelligent as humans. Space travel over such long distances for humans with current technology is not possible because of various factors – radiation, effects of inertia at high speed, life support systems increases payload, psychological effects of long term isolation, etc. However, if we had cyborgs as intelligent and as capable as humans, then they could take frozen human embryos in space ship and cover very long distance. Once they arrive at the destination planet, the cyborgs could create conditions and habitable place for the humans and then defrost the embryos to repopulate humans in that planet. Of course, this is not an easy plan and assumes that at some time in near future, we will have desktop computers as powerful and complex as human mind. But it is the most feasible one I think. And may be these smart cyborgs will realize the follies of humans and correct the short sightedness of our species that will make us want another planet in the first place. A classic sci-fi case of machines realizing that humans are the biggest danger to themselves and other species on our home planet and wanting to correct that by eliminating the problem. But for now, we have robots that can sing and dance, run at max speed of 20 km/hr and can only process no more than 2 images per second compared to human eye that processes 20.