We have finally found a habitable planet ‘out there’. At the moment, this is a bit like noises about a great land out to the west. Yet I regard it as the possibility of a sea-change. This planet is only 20 years away at light speed, or 300,000 in today’s spaceflight speeds. This brings it within the bounds of possibility, without having to hope for ‘relativity flight’. 300,000 is a number we can do business with, without hoping we can bring that physics that makes distance an illusion reality in day-to-day terms.
I find the idea that a species could propagate to other planets through technological advance intriguing – we are otherwise merely awaiting a catastrophic end, or left with god stories. The possibility of life knowing what its purpose is comes into the focus of Reason. This rather makes us babies in evolution, a bit like the societies found pre-warp in Star Soap.
I suspect the technological challenges of overcoming ‘space friction’ and the like may well turn out less bothersome than finding a decent way of going about things other than our current religion of economics, the religion of the rich and powerful. Previous explorers were largely funded on promises of booty, direct and indirect.
Start by dividing 300,000 by ten and you can see the problem is not intractable. Columbus’ voyage was about 35 days out. He didn’t use steam, but the putative technology wasn’t far off. Biology was much of the problem back then – stocking up on food and water was difficult.
I feel rather religious about this!